Premier League: Alan Pardew will get stay of execution this week, but isn't this just stalling the inevitable?
The pressure may be mounting on Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, but his controversial reign will go on for at least one more game, as he is expected to be in charge against Hull this weekend.
Ironically, it is Hull's manager Steve Bruce who has had to come out and deny speculation linking him to Pardew's job, calling it 'disrespectful' that he is being asked about a job that someone still occupies.
Pardew is drawing a lot of heat from both the media and Newcastle's vocal supporters, who have been campaigning for his, and owner Mike Ashley's, removal.
There's no getting away from how poor Newcastle were against Southampton on Saturday, and indeed Pardew himself admitted as much in such a resigned fashion that you find it hard to believe he doesn't know his days are numbered.
Whenever his time at Newcastle ends, he will walk away from the club with very few positive memories or ties to the club, thanks largely to the gulf that stands between the fans and Pardew/Ashley.
A win against Hull in their next game, which is by no means assured at this point, could in the long term be detrimental to both Pardew and the club's futures.
The fact is that Newcastle fans see Pardew and Ashley very much as a pair, and they know that out of the two, the easiest to remove is Pardew.
Short of winning a domestic cup, which isn't out of the question, or getting back into Europe, which looks highly unlikely, there is very little Pardew can do to endear himself with a weary fan base.
It is very likely that should Pardew lose another game he will go, but it would be better for all concerned if that game was against Hull this weekend.
The atmosphere around St James Park is toxic at the moment, with Ashley stubborn in his ownership with no quick plans to sell up, despite being at war with his own fans pretty much since the day he arrived.
Pardew's situation is part of a much older and wider fued between Ashley and Toon Army, with casualties on both sides.
Ashley has banned local paper the Chronicle and the official fanzine from being allowed in the press room on match days after they called or him to leave, and he has also overseen the sacking of managers such as Sam Allardyce and Chris Houghton, both popular on the terraces.
On the other side, the owner's attempts on several occasions to reintegrate Joe Kinnear at the club, a man so clearly out of touch with the modern game, were frankly an embarrassment, even to Pardew, who seemingly knew as much about what he was doing there as the rest of us.
But unfortunately in this battle, when Pardew does fall, he will be listed next to the likes of Kinnear and Dennis Wise as a Mike Ashley enforcer, sitting there happily whilst two transfer windows went by, with no players bought and their best player in Yohan Cabaye, sold.
That assessment isn't entirely fair on Pardew, who wasn't at the club when their biggest disaster, getting relegated befell them. He instead took over the season after they were promoted, at a club which seemingly had been humbled by their fall.
He guided them to European football for the first time in years, and brought in a group or relative unknowns who turned into stars.
But he has and always will be as long as he remains manager, under Mike Ashley's considerable shadow. The sooner he steps out of it, the better for all concerned.