Steve Bruce admits he is relieved to have dodged the sack so far this season.

The Newcastle boss says his first aim is to survive through the October and November international breaks, when clubs often wield the axe if their side under-performs.

Watford ’s Javi Gracia is the only top-flight coach to depart the managerial hot seat so far this season, with 17 bosses across all four divisions losing their jobs.

Bruce’s men were in the bottom three last month but surprise wins against Manchester United and West Ham have lifted them out of the relegation zone.

Bruce says that has given him breathing space to push on with what he needs to do.

Bruce celebrates with Matty Longstaff after Newcastle’s win over Manchester United

Newcastle host Bournemouth today looking for back-to-back wins to lift them to a “solid” 15 points, and Bruce said: “Some of us look at October and November and think we have gone past that hurdle of getting the sack.

“How often does it happen? It gives the clubs two weeks to get a new manager and it always seems to happen then.

“So all of us say, ‘Let’s get through that first one in September’. You usually get away with that one.

“October is a bad month, and this one was flaming awful! This time last year I was on a beach.

Newcastle also beat West Ham to edge away from the bottom three

“In management, you want a decent start – it helps everything you’re trying to do – and we can’t all have one.

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“For me this period has always been about getting an accumulation of points for that crucial month over the Christmas period.”

Asked if he thought he was vulnerable after United lost 5-0 to Leicester in September, Bruce said: “5-0? Pressure? You ask how can I get them to react? I think that’s when you earn your dough.”

Bruce isn’t getting carried away with being above the drop zone, and needs to get his expensive strike force scoring regularly.

Newcastle lost 5-0 to high-flying Leicester back in September

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The return of Jonjo Shelvey – who “posted massive physical stats” at West Ham after a “kick up the backside” in losing his place – will help creativity in midfield.

Newcastle’s home crowd could be as low as 42,000 today and 800 fans have bought scarves to protest against owner Mike Ashley.

But Bruce says he has his “dream job” and would love to fill the stadium. “We’ve taken small steps,” he added. “I take nothing for granted.”





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