Newcastle United round-up: Former Aston Villa star Gabby Agbonlahor backs Steve Bruce, slates players instead

Former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor is fully behind Steve Bruce, insisting the blame for Newcastle United’s plight lies with the players.

Following just two wins in their previous 18 Premier League games, the Magpies find themselves lying dangerously close to the relegation zone.

United hold a mere two-point advantage over 18th place Fulham ahead of the final nine games of the campaign.

But while Agbonlahor supports Bruce, Newcastle fans have been very vocal about who they hold responsible for the club’s precarious position – the head coach.

Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce. (Photo by LEE SMITH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Agbonlahor, who played under Bruce at Villa, is pointing the finger at the Toon playing squad – in particular Joelinton and Ryan Fraser.

He told Football Insider: “It’s what I’ve always said, everyone’s slating Steve Bruce but I back Steve Bruce.

“He puts out a team to go out and perform but there’s only so much a manager can do. The players need to hold their hands up and make it right.

“You look at Joelinton, he hasn’t turned up all season for Newcastle. He’s still not turning up.

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Callum Wilson is close to returning from a hamstring injury at Newcastle United. (Photo by Jason Cairnduff - Pool/Getty Images)

“For me, Steve Bruce has now got to work out what 11 players are going to fight for him and fight for the club and pick them. If that’s Dwight Gayle, if that’s Andy Carroll, if that’s Matt Ritchie, if that’s the Longstaff brothers in midfield.

“Whoever is going to fight for him and the club – that’s what it’s about now.

“Certain players are letting him down, the likes of Ryan Fraser, the likes of Joelinton, they’re not doing anything, they’re not showing any hunger, they’re not showing any fight.

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“I’m sure Steve Bruce will be making changes for the games coming up.”

Rob Lee pins survival hopes on Callum Wilson

Former Newcastle favourite Rob Lee says Callum Wilson is key to the club’s survival hopes.

The 29-year-old, United’s top scorer with 10 goals this season, is nearing full fitness after missing the last six matches with a hamstring injury.

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Wilson posted a positive injury update on his Instagram page this week, building hopes of a return against Tottenham Hotspur after the international break.

Lee told Football FanCast: “You get him back after the international break, he’s the one that can save the season because he’s the guy that can score goals out of nothing.

“Even when we’re not playing well, which is a lot, he can still score. And that’s the different between somebody staying up and going down.”

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

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