Keeping Newcastle United in the Premier League this season will be “a difficult task” for new head coach Eddie Howe, according to Alan Smith.
Howe was confirmed as Magpies boss on Monday, after attending their 1-1 draw at Brighton on Saturday alongside club director Amanda Staveley.
The Geordies are 19th in the Premier League having gained five points from their first 11 fixtures. They are the only winless side in the division.
Activity in the winter transfer window is a necessity for Newcastle if they want to comfortably avoid dropping back down to the Championship.
And Arsenal legend, Smith, has not played down the magnitude of the task ahead for the former Bournemouth head coach.
“It’s a difficult task,” Smith told Sky Sports. “But he’s got a lot of games to play with.
“You can go through the fixtures and think ‘he could get something here or there’ but you never quite know.
“They’ve certainly got to raise their game a great deal. First and foremost, he’s got to sort out that defence which has been nowhere near good enough.
“It’d be great for him to get off to a good start just to try and get momentum going – I think that’s important.
“Get the fans on his side and get the players on his side. They’ll all be having a good look at him in the first few training sessions, listening to what he says and how he’s setting up the team.
“Players being players, they tend to make up their minds as to whether they think this fella is any good or not but that comes with getting results.
“If he puts out a side that starts to work and get some results then they build faith in the manager and that’s vital.”
Howe’s first match in charge of the Magpies is against Brentford at St James’ Park on November 20.
Meanwhile, Newcastle have ‘been in talks’ with the representatives of Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule, according to Liam Kennedy.
“It’s the exact fit of a type of player Newcastle are looking for in January. I’m not going to say it will happen, but there did seem some positivity around it [with] people I’ve spoken to, so we’ll have to wait and see on that one. But it’s true, there’s definitely been talks between representatives behind the scenes,” Kennedy said on NUFC Matters.