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Newcastle confident over Roeder appointment

Newcastle are confident of winning approval from the Premier League chairmen to allow them to appoint Glenn Roeder as their new manager.

Magpies chairman Freddy Shepherd has already been lobbying his colleagues after the governing body last night announced that, while the rules as they stand would preclude Roeder's appointment, a two-thirds majority in a vote at their annual general meeting on June 1 would be enough for them to grant permission.

The decision will be made by the Premier League Shareholders - the clubs represented the 20 chairmen - and Shepherd is working behind the scenes to secure the support he needs to hand the 50-year-old a return to the big time.

However, he was shedding little light on the matter today as Roeder prepared his team for their final game of the season against Chelsea on Sunday.

'Sunday is such a vital game for us, because we know that if we beat Chelsea it will open a route for us back into Europe,' he said.

'Obviously we want to be back in Europe for a lot of reasons, none more so than for the sake of our fans, and we have to thank Glenn Roeder and the players for giving us the chance to do that.

'As a result, we will not be making any comment on our managerial situation, because we want to leave Glenn and the players to stay focused on Sunday.'

Privately, the Magpies have been happy with the way their case has been dealt with by the Premier League.

The rules state that Roeder cannot be appointed manager because he does not have the UEFA Pro Licence, although Newcastle have argued he would have done but for the brain tumour which struck him down during his spell in charge at West Ham.

He has enrolled on a course which begins during the summer and will have the qualification in 12 months' time.

Shepherd put a series of scenarios to the Premier League in a formal submission earlier this week, and last night's statement was their response to that.

Reserve team coach Tommy Craig, who has the licence, could play a major part - while captain Alan Shearer, who is adamant he will be taking at least a year out of football after his retirement as a player, is likely to be asked to remain tied to the club with a view to returning in a formal capacity.

Roeder, who has had Shearer working alongside him during his time in charge, was remaining positive but philosophical in the wake of the latest developments.

'It's something I can't comment on; it's something I have no control over,' he said.

'What will be will be.

'I'm very much focused on the game against Chelsea. It would be really stupid now to start thinking about other things like that as your main focus, because we would go and get the result we don't want on Sunday - having taken our eye off the ball.

'That's the last thing we can do playing Chelsea.'

Having acknowledged his candidacy, Roeder has performed a dramatic U-turn since the day he was unveiled as caretaker - when he was adamant he was not interested in the job on a permanent basis.

Asked what changed his mind, he said: 'I can't pinpoint one particular game or training session where I came away thinking `This is what I want to do'.

'It's just gradually evolved working with senior players again and the enjoyment I've had working with them Monday to Friday and then watching them go out and perform on a Saturday or a Sunday.

'It's just something that grew on me. I didn't wake up one morning and say `This is the job for me - I definitely want this job'.

'Over the whole period of the two-and-a-half months, the thought of being in charge has just gathered pace without me even realising.'