Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe will be under no illusions of the size of the task he has at St James’s Park. Tuesday night’s draw with Norwich highlighted that he must get ruthless with the squad in January.
Ciaran Clark might struggle to remain at the club after his calamitous display during the recent 1-1 draw with the Canaries.
Everyone can forgive a mistake. Newcastle fans are arguably some of the more accommodating supporters. However, given the current plight, the Magpies can’t take passengers along for the ride.
Clark was given his marching orders by referee Andy Madley after just nine minutes of Tuesday’s game and that won’t have impressed Howe.
The fact that Newcastle stayed compact, stuck to their guns and in the end were unlucky not to win, was a testament to the players and the job the new manager is trying to do.
This has to offer Howe a stark warning though. Clark, along with several other members of his current squad, simply aren’t good enough to be playing for Newcastle.
With a newfound wealth now backing the club, some players will have to really start rolling their sleeves up. The alternative is that Newcastle spend the money and quite simply replace them.
Clark has to be on borrowed time at Newcastle
The 32-year-old was signed in 2016 as a stop-gap option intended to provide the quality that Newcastle needed to get out of the Championship.
He did that job with aplomb and it’s fair to say that he’s done a job for Newcastle at a difficult time for the club.
The fact he’s still playing regularly five years down the line, however, does offer a cause for concern.
There are better options out there than the £42,000-a-week Clark and Newcastle can’t afford to keep prioritising mediocrity.
Clark’s latest Newcastle error might just be his last…