AMID further talk that Joe Kinnear could be heading back to St James Park if Mike Ashley decides not to sell the club this week, the Newcastle United squad have made it clear who they want to be in charge Chris Hughton.
Barry Moat, the Tynesidebased businessman hoping to buy out Ashley, is expected to meet with the banks later today in the hope of putting together a package that will convince the Newcastle owner to agree to a sale.
But, despite Moat and Ashley sitting alongside one another in the directors box as a Shola Ameobi hat-trick secured a 3-0 win over Reading, it remains more likely that the current regime will still be in control come the end of the week and beyond.
There have been new claims of yet another overseas investor showing late interest in buying the club, although with so many false dawns this summer Newcastle fans are finding it difficult to get excited.
And if no sale can be agreed, Ameobi has revealed the players would prefer Hughton and coach Colin Calderwood to stay in charge until the future of the club is completely clear.
Thats the uncertainty weve got to live with now with Newcastle but Chris and Colin have done some fantastic things in what is an impossible situation for them, said Ameobi.
If the owner doesnt sell the club we have got two guys there who we believe in as players. We believe they can do a great job and they have done already.
There has been a lot of turmoil upstairs and its something we as players cant do anything about. All I have seen is that the lads really respect Chris and Colin.
We really believe they have done a great job in bringing us together. Yes it would be great to have a manager but if that doesnt happen we have got two guys there who can lift us and bring us together and get us winning games and back into the Premier League.
After steering Newcastle to their first three points of the season in the second Championship fixture, Hughton admitted that he had spoken to Kinnear but was unaware of any imminent return.
And rather than think about what might be happening, Hughton was more concerned with preparing his players for Wednesdays visit of Sheffield Wednesday and Saturdays trip to Crystal Palace.
By the time the Owls travel to Tyneside, Damien Duff is likely to have completed his £4m move to Fulham after spending the weekend in talks in London, further reducing a wage bill that has dropped from £75m to £48m in recent weeks.
Im sad to see him go,said Hughton, who did not comment on claims that defender Sol Campbell, sat in the directors box on Saturday, is set to sign for Newcastle on a free.
I dont know if hed look back on his Newcastle career with a tinge of regret. If he ends up going itll be because of a new challenge and the Premier League but I cant fault his application or attitude here.
There is also interest in Steven Taylor from Everton, Aston Villa and Liverpool, with the defenders farewell after the final whistle against Reading fuelling the belief that he will soon be sold.
And Portsmouth confirmed over the weekend that they are also hoping to lure Jonas Gutierrez along with Egyptian Amr Zaki to Fratton Park this week, while Real Zaragoza and Galatasaray are interested in Fabricio Coloccini.
But in Ameobi, provided he can stay fit and in confident mood, Newcastle have a striker with the ability to become a real hero in the Championship this season and he knows it.
His hat-trick against Reading was the first of his Newcastle career and he did not waste any time in dedicating it to Sir Bobby Robson.
It was a dream come true but its been a while coming, said Ameobi. I believe he (Sir Bobby) was looking down and smiling on me. He was a great mentor to me. Even after he left I was in contact with him regularly. He brought me through.
He has been a great friend to me as well. I was obviously very upset when he passed away. We dedicated the game to him and what a way for me to mark it because if it wasnt for him I would not be in this position as he gave me my first start.
Newcastle will assess the fitness of Joey Barton this morning, after the midfielder was forced off through injury in the second half on Saturday.