ROBERTO MARTINEZ is interested in taking over at Newcastle United – but the Belgium boss wants to complete the process of qualifying for next summer’s World Cup during the forthcoming international break before holding formal discussions on Tyneside.

Newcastle’s relegation worries intensified as they lost 3-0 to league leaders Chelsea on Saturday, with Leeds’ victory over Norwich City yesterday meaning the Magpies now find themselves six points adrift of safety ahead of this weekend’s trip to Brighton.

Ideally, the Magpies’ new ownership group would like to have a permanent successor to Steve Bruce in place for the trip to the Amex Stadium, but their search for a new boss is being complicated by their parallel attempts to appoint a sporting director and Martinez’s desire to lead Belgium into this month’s concluding World Cup qualifiers.

Having spoken to Paulo Fonseca and sounded out a number of alternative candidates, Amanda Staveley and her advisors would like to hold formal talks with Martinez.

However, the former Everton, Wigan and Swansea boss does not want to do anything that might derail Belgium’s attempts to qualify for next winter’s World Cup. Martinez’s current employers are five points clear at the top of Group E, and need just two points from this month’s matches against Estonia and Wales to guarantee their place in Qatar.

Provided things go to plan and Belgium avoid the need for a play-off, Martinez would be willing to discuss his future with the Magpies. Sources claim he is interested in a return to the Premier League, although he would be keen to combine managing Newcastle with leading Belgium for the next year, enabling him to sign off his international duties at the World Cup.

Unai Emery and Lucien Favre remain in the frame to take over on Tyneside, with further discussions scheduled for this week. Jones is not being considered for a full-time managerial position, but despite Saturday’s defeat, there is still a good chance the former assistant could remain in his current interim position for one more game.

After taking on Brighton, Newcastle will head into a two-week international break which would give the new regime a window in which they could complete both their managerial search and their appointment of a sporting director.

Jones is willing to take charge of Saturday’s game at the Amex, although he conceded in the wake of the Chelsea defeat that a “fresh face” might be needed to guide Newcastle out of the bottom three.

Asked whether he felt the current Newcastle squad was good enough to stave off the threat of relegation, Jones replied: “I do. But the truth is that it maybe needs a fresh face to get that.

“I really don’t know what’s going to happen next. I’ve spoken to the players after the game, and then come straight here for the press conference. I haven’t spoken to the owners – I’m not trying to be evasive – I haven’t. I’ll see what they’ve got to say.”