Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has ruled out allowing Ciaran Clark to leave the club after speculation linking him with a move to Crystal Palace and Bristol City.
The 29-year-old has been at St James' Park for three seasons, but made just eight Premier League appearances last season after enduring a host of injury problems.
His future has come into question in recent days, with Crystal Palace and Bristol City touted as potential destinations. Bruce, though, speaking after the Magpies' 3-1 pre-season win over Hibernian, has ruled out allowing Clark to leave - as he simply doesn't have the bodies to cope with a defensive departure.
“That’s not going to happen at the moment," Bruce said, as quoted by the Chronicle.
“We’re playing with three centre-backs and with Lejeune injured we’ll only have four so I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Clark moved to Newcastle in the summer of 2016 after Aston Villa were relegated to the Championship, and helped Rafa Benitez guide the Magpies back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Since then, Clark has struggled to command a regular place in the team as he has struggled with numerous injury concerns. He only appeared eight times in the Premier League as a result, but did net two goals in that time.
Newcastle’s pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain left back Stanley Nsoki has been well documented, but Clark will seemingly not be leaving as a result - with the Irishman required to help cover the absence of long-term injury casualty Florian Lejeune.
Clark could line up for Newcastle in their final pre-season game against Saint-Etienne, before Bruce's side begin their Premier League campaign against Arsenal on August 11.