Joe Kinnear ready for the challenge ahead after being given Newcastle job until the end of the season

Newcastle have confirmed they have extended the contract of manager Joe Kinnear until the end of the season.

The 61-year-old, who has been working on a month-to-month contract at St James' Park since the end of September, will take charge for the rest of the campaign with efforts to sell the club so far coming to nothing.

Kinnear has stabilised the Magpies since his arrival and has overseen two wins and four draws in his eight matches at the helm.

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Joe Kinnear (L), manager of Newcastle, celebrates

Delight: Joe Kinnear will stay on at Newcastle and (below) how Sportsmail reported the story yesterday

Joe Kinnear ragout

Kinnear, whose original contract has been renewed for the next month following Saturday's impressive 0-0 draw at Chelsea, has made no secret of his desire to take over on a full-time basis.

Kinnear said: 'Ever since I came to Newcastle United I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

'The players have been great to work with and the fans have made me feel at home since day one. 

'We have a big challenge ahead of us for the rest of the season but together I'm confident we will make good progress. 

'We have some very good players already at this club and hopefully we can further strengthen the squad in January and I will be working very closely with the directors to try to achieve that.'

Managing Director Derek Llambias said: 'Joe has done an excellent job since coming to the Club and everyone is delighted that he has agreed to remain in charge for the rest of the season.'

Today's development comes as no real surprise with Ashley's hopes of offloading the business he bought for £134.4million in May last year having been hit by the prevailing economic conditions.

AS Roma's former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise is believed to be a target for Joe Kinnear

Premier League return? AS Roma's former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise is believed to be a target for Joe Kinnear

He announced his decision to sell in September amid a furious fans' backlash over Keegan's walk-out in protest at the way the club handled their summer recruitment drive.

However, Keith Harris, chairman of investment bank Seymour Pierce, who was appointed to find a buyer, has had little luck despite scouring the world for potential purchasers ever since.

He hinted last weekend that any deal was unlikely to be struck before February despite interest from two American consortia, and that simply confirmed the feeling on Tyneside in recent weeks that Ashley's stay, and therefore that of Kinnear, would continue.

Kinnear claims he has been given the power to strengthen his squad, although his first priority will be to attempt to tie down Michael Owen, Nicky Butt and Steve Harper to new deals.

The former Wimbledon boss said: 'Every signing who comes in the new year will be a Joe Kinnear signing, absolutely, 100 per cent, and I have cleared that at boardroom level.'

Kinnear has already presented executive director (football) Dennis Wise with a wishlist, although that is understood to contain the names of a series of loan targets including Roma defender John Arne Riise and the likes of Arsenal youngsters Denilson, Johan Djourou and Alexandre Song.

In the meantime, he will send out his side for the derby clash with Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow hoping to celebrate his good news with a much-needed victory.

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