For once Mark Lawrenson has given me a bit of laugh.

The BBC pundit says that half of the Newcastle players aren’t trying and even if you hit them with a stick it wouldn’t ‘encourage’ them to perform.

I think I will carry that mental image in my head right up to Sunday afternoon to cheer me up.

Mark Lawrenson also says that even if you offer them ‘a carrot’ that doesn’t work either.

Which is one of our biggest problems, players picking up their carrot (tens of thousands of pounds per week) regardless of how badly they play.

Lawrenson says he is surprised that Steve McClaren hasn’t turned it around but that at the same time, if you have a set of players like there is at St James Park at this moment in time, nobody can succeed.

Which then leads the former Liverpool player to say that there is little point sacking McClaren because his replacement would have the same group of players.

Mark Lawrenson:

“I’m really surprised, I thought Steve McClaren would do very well but do you know what…his players – half of them haven’t been at it.

“But what do you do, you can’t chuck them all out as they haven’t got replacements.

“If you have got players who don’t want to play then what do you do – if they’re your best players then you have got absolutely no chance.

“You can hit them with a stick, you can offer them a carrot, whatever… it just obviously doesn’t work.

“I think Steve McClaren has tried absolutely everything but it is very difficult to see what can happen.

“If you get a new guy (manager/head coach), it is the same players and if they don’t want to play then what do you do?”