Newcastle United are expected to await the outcome of their next two matches – Everton at home and Bolton Wanderers away – before deciding whether to bring in a new temporary manager to replace Joe Kinnear until the end of the season. Kinnear is to undergo heart bypass surgery tomorrow, and will definitely miss the next two months, but if those two games bring Newcastle points the stand-in partnership of Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood may stay on until May without fresh assistance.
It is a high-risk strategy. Should Newcastle lose to Everton and Bolton and sink into the relegation zone then someone else may be approached on a short-term basis.
One of those asked to take over in September before Kinnear was Terry Venables. Gus Poyet, close to Newcastle director of football Dennis Wise from time together at Chelsea, Swindon Town and Leeds United, is another coach out of work.
There was no official comment from Newcastle yesterday but a statement may come today regarding Kinnear. The 62 year-old is thoughtm to have had a minor stroke or heart failure to have suffered a minor stroke on Saturday morning at the team hotel prior to the game at West Bromwich Albion.
Kinnear was taken to hospital in Sutton Coldfield and missed the match. Newcastle referred afterwards only to "high blood pressure". He was kept in hospital but was sufficiently optimistic to say on Monday morning that he hoped to be released on Tuesday. But the cardiologist whom Kinnear said he was due to meet has apparently concluded his situation is most serious.
A heart bypass is a significant operation and recovery time depends on the general health of the individual, but it is usually between eight and 12 weeks. For Kinnear it is likely that medical advice will be against him returning to a highly pressurised job this season.
Kinnear's 1999 heart attack, suffered while managing Wimbledon, will also be taken into account by doctors.
Meanwhile the club's managing director Derek Llambias stressed yesterday that, contrary to ongoing rumour, Wise would be staying. "Dennis is our director of football," Llambias said. "He is out there looking for players. He is still part of our management structure. He will remain part of our management structure."