By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes

Newcastle will cancel Steve McClaren’s scheduled media briefing on Thursday as they prepare to axe the manager.

Sources have told Football Insider that the Premier League club are sounding out alternatives to the under-fire incumbent.

Rafael Benitez tops Newcastle’s wishlist, while there is also strong interest in David Moyes.

The board have stopped short of axing McClaren in case they are unable to reach an agreement with one of their favoured candidates.

The current Newcastle boss is said to be resigned to his fate but will remain in charge until a suitable replacement can be found.

Given the uncertainty, the club have let it be known that there McClaren’s scheduled pre-match media conference on Thursday to preview Monday’s Premier League trip to Leicester will not take place.

Reports have indicated that the Newcastle players have already moved on from McClaren although the club have strongly denied this.

In other Newcastle news, former striker Mickey Quinn has urged the club to appoint a disciplinarian to sort out the club’s underperforming players.