STEVE BRUCE claims this week’s contract developments prove it is “business as usual” at Newcastle United despite the ongoing uncertainty over the club’s ownership situation.

Andy Carroll and Javier Manquillo signed new deals on Thursday, with Matty Longstaff penning a short-term extension that enables him to see out the remainder of the season, while the Magpies also confirmed the departure of Rob Elliot, Jamie Sterry and Jack Colback.

On the pitch, Newcastle are preparing to host Manchester City in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final, with the winners guaranteed a place at Wembley in the last four.

Off it, however, the wait for the Premier League’s decision on Amanda Staveley’s proposed £300m buyout of Mike Ashley continues, with the governing body’s owners and directors’ test having ticked into its third month.

Most of Newcastle’s long-term planning has been placed on ice until the fate of Staveley’s Saudi Arabia-backed bid is known, but Bruce continues to work with his recruitment team on a handful of issues that require ongoing attention.

“We can’t worry about what’s going on above us,” said the Newcastle boss. “But what we can do is take care of the business that is in front of us and what we have at the minute.

“I can’t worry about what’s going on upstairs, but we still have to plan ahead. That’s always a manager or coach’s job. You can’t stand still – if you stand still, you lose. We’re still working away on one or two things – it’s just business as usual.”

Carroll has signed a new one-year deal on the same terms he agreed when he joined as a free agent last summer, and having come off the bench to set up Dwight Gayle’s goal in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, the striker is under serious consideration for what would be a first start since December on Sunday.

“He came on the other night and influenced things on the pitch, and he’s done that a few times now,” said Bruce. “As part of the squad going forward, then if he stays well, there’s not many like Andy Carroll. Most Premier League teams would certainly benefit from having him.

“He’s lost a lot of weight – he’s worked extremely hard in the lockdown – and he’s still got that bit of hunger where he knocked on my door the other wanting to know why he wasn’t in the first XI. Fair play to him.”