Jones urges Toon owners not to make 'wholesale changes' in January

Newcastle caretaker boss Graeme Jones urges the club’s Saudi-led owners not to make ‘wholesale changes’ in January despite fan excitement over deals and insists the Magpies have a ‘good core group’

  • Coach Graeme Jones is currently in caretaker charge of Newcastle United 
  • A full-time replacement for Steve Bruce is expected to be appointed next week 
  • Jones’ side welcome European champions Chelsea to St James’ Park tomorrow 
  • The interim-manager did not get drawn on his future beyond the Chelsea game 

Newcastle’s interim-manager Graeme Jones said he would discuss what happens next at the club with the new owners after Saturday’s Premier League game against Chelsea but urged his bosses not to make ‘wholesale changes.’

A permanent replacement for Steve Bruce, who left the club nine days ago, is expected to be appointed before Newcastle’s following game at Brighton a week on Saturday.

‘I’ll have a chat with the owners and see where we are. No more than that and take it from there,’ said Jones, who became first-team coach at his hometown club under Bruce in January.

Newcastle’s interim-manager Graeme Jones insists all his focus is just on the Chelsea clash 

The club’s new Saudi-led owners (pic right, director Amanda Staveley) need a new manager 

‘I think our job here, right now, is to make this football club as united as it possibly can be for the next manager that’s coming.

‘We’re a point better off than last week and obviously after tomorrow’s game we’ll see where we are, but the new guy needs to walk into a really healthy football club. With 52,000 people, plus 20 players and staff pulling in the same direction and that’s my target.’ 

Jones, who said his own future at Newcastle was assured, admitted he will have to keep his emotions in check before taking charge in front of a sold-out St James’ Park for the first time.

‘There’s a lot of responsibility,’ he said. ‘Honestly, you can’t go there with the emotions. Yes it’s my football club, first game at St James’ Park, but I’ve got a job to do and I’ve got to do it to the best of my ability.

‘So I haven’t thought about that. I’m thinking purely about the game and nothing more. What happens between now and January 1 is going to define our season and it would be remiss of me if I didn’t concentrate on the Chelsea game.

Jones admitted he will have to keep his emotions in check at St James’ Park on Saturday 

‘We’ve got the Champions League winners coming here, so I’ve not thought about anything else.’

When asked if victory over Chelsea could make him a contender for the job on a permanent basis, Jones said: ‘If we beat Chelsea I’ll probably open a bottle of red wine with my wife and celebrate.

‘It would be a huge moment, but I’m sorry to be boring, I’m not looking past that. My remit is just for Chelsea and I want to help my football club be in the best position we can be in.’

Fans are expecting some major new signings following the Saudi Arabia-backed consortium’s £305million takeover, but Jones warned against making wholesale changes.

‘I think we’ve got a good core here,’ he added. ‘For different reasons we started poorly, that’s the truth. There’s nobody more important than the core group of players at this football club.

‘I can assure you they care about this club. A lot of lads have been here a long time.

‘I see January as an opportunity to help the group that is here. You can’t make wholesale changes. The most important thing is to get the best out of the core players here now and then January will be a bonus.’

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