Newcastle in a difficult situation, says Bruce

Soccer Football - Premier League - Aston Villa v Newcastle United - Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain - January 23, 2021 Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce reacts Pool via REUTERS/Clive Mason

(Reuters) - Newcastle United's confidence has taken a hit following a dismal run of form but manager Steve Bruce says he will not shy away from the challenge of turning around the club's fortunes.

Newcastle are winless in their last 10 matches in all competitions, a run that's seen them drop to 16th in the Premier League with 19 points from 19 games.

Saturday's 2-0 defeat by Aston Villa has intensified the pressure on Bruce, with fans gathering outside St James' Park to call for him to be sacked.

"We've been on a poor run and I can understand how they feel," Bruce told reporters ahead of Tuesday's home game against Leeds United. "It's a difficult situation."

"All you can do is prepare as best you can and try to ignore the noise. We need to go and get a result. I've seen little bits of promise but confidence is a little bit low.

"I've been in this situation before and you draw on your experience with it. There's no doubt at all it's difficult, but I'm still convinced. The one thing I'll never do is shy away from a challenge. I'll get stuck into it and try as best I can."

Newcastle have scored just once in their last eight matches but Bruce hopes the return of wingers Allan Saint-Maximin and Ryan Fraser from illness and suspension respectively, will alleviate their goalscoring woes.

"Let's hope they both stay well because if they do, I'm convinced they'll provide enough ammunition that we need to score," he said.

Bruce also said defenders Federico Fernandez, Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett will miss the game due to injuries.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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