Toon boss Roeder refusing to contemplate relegation
Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder is refusing to contemplate relegation as he attempts to engineer a second major turn-around at St James' Park.
The 50-year-old stepped in as caretaker boss in February after Graeme Souness was shown the door, but despite his side then lying 15th in the table, insisted the drop was not a concern.
Having been proved right on that occasion, he finds himself in a similar situation with the Magpies having slumped to within goal difference of the foot of the table, but his outlook remains unchanged.
Roeder said: 'I am not contemplating it now and nor are the players - and it is important that, as hard as it must be at the moment for the supporters, they must not think that way either.
'I know they must be sick and tired of being asked to stay with the team, and any more performances like Saturday's would make it even more difficult for them.
'The dissension on Saturday is understandable. We all put our hands in the air - I do as well.
'We must not have another performance like that. We need the players to stand up to be counted and show the pride that any player who wears this shirt should have, and must have.'
Just two Premiership wins all season have left the Toon Army scenting blood, and Saturday's dismal 1-0 home defeat by Sheffield United saw them turn on chairman Freddy Shepherd.
Roeder will send his side out in the Carling Cup fourth round at former club Watford tomorrow night insisting he does not feel under pressure and that both he and Shepherd feel the pain just as acutely as the club's supporters.
He said: 'The chairman is hurting - the supporters need to know that - the chairman is hurting as much as they are, as much as I am and my staff.
'Myself, Terry McDermott and Lee Clark are all ex-players here and we know what it means to the supporters.
'We know how much pain they are going through. They have to understand we are going through the same amount of pain, and it is not nice.
'I have every belief in myself. Perhaps I am very lucky to have this personality that I do not put myself under any pressure.
'Any pressures come from outside and I accept that, but I will try not to let it affect me.
'I know, given the time, we will turn this around and long term, the future will be very good.'
Shepherd, after spending time out of the country with his wife Lorelle following a recent health scare, return to St James' Park ready to have his say.
He was expected at the training ground today to deliver the latest in a series of cards-on-the-table speeches to the players.
Shepherd said: 'I think it is time the players are reminded just who they are playing for.
'There is no doubt we are in a situation which needs sorting out and sorting out quickly.
'None of us can be happy at the position Newcastle United find themselves in right now and it is up to everyone involved to get us out of it.
'We have to do better and that means everyone pulling together for the good of the club to work through what are undeniably tough times.'
In the short term at least, that means Roeder's job is not under threat despite reports linking the club with Gerard Houllier and Alan Curbishley.
The weekend's events will not have gone unnoticed by the Jersey-based Belgravia Group, who have confirmed their interest in the club, although no offer has been made to test Shepherd's resolve to retain his holding.
Meanwhile, striker Shola Ameobi could have played his last game of the season as he looks unlikely to be able to put off hip surgery any longer.