NEWCASTLE UNITED are hoping to confirm Steve Bruce as their new manager in the next 24 hours – and are confident the North-Easterner will be able to lead his new side during next week’s campaign at the Premier League Asia Trophy.

Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley spent yesterday discussing a compensation package with senior officials at Sheffield Wednesday after Bruce spoke to Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri personally to outline his desire to take over at St James’ Park.

Bruce, who will name former Middlesbrough manager Steve Agnew as his assistant on Tyneside, is keen to succeed Rafael Benitez, even though he accepts his appointment will not be popular with a large section of the Newcastle support.

Having sounded out a large number of candidates in the last couple of weeks, Charnley settled on Bruce as his number one choice earlier this week.

The 58-year-old signed a one-year rolling contract with Sheffield Wednesday as recently as January, but has decided to leave Hillsborough in order to lead his boyhood team in the Premier League.

Newcastle officials are confident they can wrap up a deal within the next day or so, with the personal terms of Bruce’s proposed contract already understood to have been agreed.

Time is of the essence, with Newcastle’s first-team squad due to fly to China on Sunday ahead of their two-game campaign at the Premier League Asia Trophy, which begins with a match with Wolves in Nanjing next Wednesday.

The hope is that Bruce will be able to join up with the squad before the opening fixture, and while visa issues could yet complicate matters, Newcastle officials are confident they will have sufficient time to ensure the club’s new boss is able to make his managerial debut in the Far East.

Bruce did not take charge of training in Sheffield yesterday – he and his coaching staff were on a scheduled day off, having returned from a training camp in Portugal earlier this week – but he was pictured leaving Hillsborough, where he met senior Wednesday officials to discuss his future. He is then understood to have travelled to his family base in the North-East.

Compensation figures of between £1-5m have been mentioned in the press in the last few days, but sources close to discussions claim Newcastle are confident Bruce’s current contractual situation means they will be able to agree a figure closer to the bottom of that price range.

Bruce earns around £1m-a-year at Hillsborough in wages, so even if he receives a hefty increase on that salary, Newcastle will still be shelling out considerably less than the £6m-a-year they were paying to Benitez before his contract expired.

Sources close to Bruce claim the North-Easterner is aware of the furious response his appointment will elicit from a large number of Newcastle fans. The much-travelled manager spent two years in charge of Sunderland between 2009-11, and has failed to make a positive impression in his last two posts, which saw him relegated with Hull City and fail to win promotion from the Championship with Aston Vila.

Whoever succeeded Benitez was always going to be in for a tough task, but having seen the likes of Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger touted as possible bosses if a takeover went through this summer, postings on social media suggest that Newcastle’s fanbase are far from thrilled at the likelihood of Bruce taking over.

However, having been a boyhood Newcastle fan, the Corbridge-born boss has always regarded the manager’s job at St James’ Park as his dream position.

He has turned the job down on two previous occasions when he was manager at Birmingham City – once when he claims he was approached behind Sir Bobby Robson’s back – and feels this is likely to be his final chance to experience life in the dug-out on Tyneside.

He will be joined by Agnew, who is currently operating as his assistant at Sheffield Wednesday, as well as Stephen Clemence, who is also part of the current backroom team at Hillsborough.

Bruce’s appointment would be the final act of a saga that has dragged on for more than two weeks now, with Newcastle having struggled to persuade a number of candidates to consider succeeding Benitez.

Patrick Vieira, Mikel Arteta and Steven Gerrard are all understood to have expressed serious reservations about moving to Newcastle, while Sam Allardyce claimed on talkSPORT yesterday morning that he rejected an approach that was made earlier in the week.