Newcastle United boss Steve McClaren one game from sack
According to a report in Friday's Daily Mail, 'Senior Newcastle players cannot believe head coach Steve McClaren is still in charge and they expect him to be sacked should they lose at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.'
Sportsmail has revealed that McClaren and his backroom team are fast losing the trust of their squad and that several of the French contingent have even organised their own private recovery sessions away from the club and without permission, such is their preference for their own methods.
And sources have told the Mail that disgruntled players – including experienced internationals - have spoken of their surprise that the former England boss has not already been axed with a run of six straight away defeats leaving them second from bottom in the Premier League table.
'There is a feeling within the club's North Tyneside training ground that, with a nine-day break before the trip to Leicester, a loss against the Cherries this weekend will seal McClaren's fate.
'Owner Mike Ashley does not want to miss out on next season's bumper TV deal and he will be asking managing director Lee Charnley for updates on the unfolding crisis.
'Indeed, we understand Charnley headed straight for Newcastle's dressing-room following their 5-1 humiliation at Chelsea last month, a performance former captain Alan Shearer labelled as 'embarrassing and hopeless'.'
The players, meanwhile, are also aware of tension between certain members of the backroom team and there is a suspicion among the club's hierarchy that some of them are bringing little to the relegation effort.
The Mail further revealed that there was a meeting in Yarm in North Yorkshire attended by McClaren and his staff in which they sought to address several issues threatening their top flight status.
However, some club insiders believe McClaren has not helped matters by playing Chancel Mbemba at Everton on February 3, even though there were concerns over his condition ahead of the match.
The centre back - who is the best defender on the books - has not appeared since that 3-0 defeat having been forced off before half-time with an ankle problem.
Skipper Fabricio Coloccini picked up a calf strain during their recent break in La Manga and is said to be less than impressed with McClaren lauding the captaincy credentials of Jonjo Shelvey ahead of Wednesday's 1-0 defeat at Stoke, a match in which the £12m January signing wore the armband.
The Mail claims that there is some confusion behind the scenes over the severity of Coloccini's injury and this has added to the sense of a management regime losing control.