Magpies clear but Bruce wants league suspended

Newcastle United

Manager Steve Bruce has revealed that nobody at Newcastle has shown signs of having coronavirus but feels the Premier League should be suspended.

Sporting events around the globe are responding to the outbreak of the highly contagious virus, with the high-profile Players Championship golf event at Sawgrass in Florida the latest to be cancelled.

It seems inevitable that football will follow suit until the spread of the infection is more under control.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is currently self-isolating after testing positive while Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi is the first player to contract the virus.

The Magpies seem to have escaped to date, as Bruce told his Friday media briefing.

“There’s been no symptoms. Touch wood,” he said. “The doctor has been in contact with the other doctors [in the Premier League] I believe and we’re awaiting this phone call.”

The much-travelled tactician insists he and his playing staff will do as requested by the Premier League but is of the opinion that football needs to take a break until the situation is a bit clearer.

“We’ve prepared for the game and people talk about it being behind closed doors but if we play football it’s for one thing – the supporters,” he added. “For me, suspend it, shut it down and rearrange it for another date when the situation is clearer.”

Newcastle are due to play Sheffield United on Saturday and would have loved to keep up the momentum after taking four points from their past two games.

The Tynesiders managed to down Southampton 1-0 at St Mary’s last weekend and sit 13th in the standings with 35 points to their name.

They are not yet safe but, with an eight-point gap to the relegation zone, it seems likely that the Toon Army will be watching top-flight football at St James’ Park once again next season.