Newcastle manager Steve Bruce says he will never be controversial club owner Mike Ashley’s “yes man”.

Bruce, 58, replaced Rafael Benitez as boss at St James’ Park on 17 July but his appointment has been met by mixed feelings among supporters.

Ashley has drawn fierce criticism from fans, with a perceived lack of spending often a focus of frustration.

“I think you’ve known me long enough. I’m not going to be anybody’s yes man,” said boyhood Magpies fan Bruce.

“I’m too long in the tooth for that. I’ve heard it said that I’m a puppet or not in charge of transfers or what have you, but I can only report on how he’s been with myself and he’s been straight down the line in the conversations I’ve had.

“That can only be a good thing. I’m not his bag man or anything else. I will certainly be my own man, I always have.”

Ashley faces increasing pressure from supporters to sell the club but Bruce hopes they will be appeased by the club-record £40m signing of Brazilian striker Joelinton.

“All I can ask is to be given a chance. Whoever was going to be sitting here would find it difficult with the support (Benitez) had from the fans – it was quite phenomenal. Unbelievable,” he said.

“Whoever was sitting here would have big shoes to fill, but let me have a crack.

“I had the conversation and there was money to spend. It was all positive in that respect. There is proof already.”