Ex-Sunderland striker explains what could trigger Newcastle United to sack Eddie Howe

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Newcastle United are currently 10th in the Premier League and face Manchester City away in the FA Cup quarter-final

Darren Bent believes Eddie Howe will keep his job unless Newcastle United “fall off a cliff” from now until the end of the season.

As it stands, the Magpies are 10th in the Premier League - seven points behind the top six. They are also in the FA Cup quarter-final but drew Manchester City away last night - the trickiest tie possible.

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Newcastle have failed to replicate the heroics of last season when Howe guided them to their first Champions League finish for 20 years. Playing in Europe’s elite competition - as well as a crippling injury list - has been highlighted as reasons for United’s decline.

With players nearing full fitness from lengthy lay-offs, Newcastle - and Howe - will be aiming for a strong end to the season to quash murmurings of discontent about his future. Speaking on talkSPORT, former Sunderland striker Bent has claimed the pressure will come from the owners - and he will be sacked if the Magpies finish in the bottom half.

“He got them Champions League last season but, with that, expectation grows,” he said. “Maybe from the fans it’s alright it’s fine we’re building, but from the owners they’ve had a taste of Champions League they want more of it.

“If they don’t win the FA Cup which I don’t think they will and they finish 10th I think the owners will look and think are we moving forwards? I still think their squad is progressing, they’ve got to balance the books but I do think the owners will look at it and think do we make a change. I think he’s safe unless they fall off a cliff and finish bottom half of the table. The fans are behind him anyway.”

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