STEVE BRUCE expects all Premier League matches to be called off later today – and would prefer a full suspension of the competition to playing matches behind closed doors.

The Premier League will hold an emergency meeting at 10am today, amid an expectation that this weekend’s top-flight games will all be postponed.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has contracted coronavirus, resulting in the enforced isolation of every member of the Gunners’ first-team squad, and Chelsea midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi has also contracted the illness.

As things stand, Bruce is due to take charge of first-team training this morning, with no one at Newcastle having shown any symptoms of coronavirus.

However, he expected Newcastle’s scheduled home game with Sheffield United tomorrow not to take place.

“We think it will be suspended – whether for two weeks, four weeks, we’ll see,” said Bruce. “Up until yesterday we were pretty convinced it would go ahead, but obviously the situation has changed massively in the last 24 hours with players and managers getting it. I don’t see any alternative now other than suspending it and seeing where we are in a few weeks.”

There have been suggestions that Premier League games could be played behind-closed-doors in an attempt to get the season finished on schedule.

However, Bruce would be against such a proposal, preferring an indefinite suspension to a series of behind-closed-doors games.

“It’s strange and difficult times for everybody, not just involved in football,” he said. “It’s something we’re all shaking our head at. We’ve prepared for the game, but if we play football it’s for one thing, in front of the supporters, and the welfare of them comes before everything.

“You play for football to be in front of our fans, there would have been 52,000 there. Playing behind closed doors is not the answer in my opinion. For me, suspend it, shut it down and rearrange it for another day where we’re more aware of the situation.

“It’s all about the supporters really and their welfare is more important than anything. The idea of playing in front of nobody doesn’t appeal at all. For me, you suspend it and wait until we’ve got the all-clear.”