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Steve Bruce hails Newcastle’s decision to save transfer funds for summer targets

West Ham United v Newcastle United – Premier League – London Stadium
(Image credit: Michael Regan)

Steve Bruce has praised Newcastle’s “smart” decision to save their money in January in order to fund a summer swoop for “tried and tested” quality.

The Magpies have earned early dividends from their latest recruitment drive with debutants Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick both scoring in last Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win at West Ham and Ryan Fraser following suit against Blackburn in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

Bruce worked closely with managing director Lee Charnley and head of recruitment Steve Nickson to identify the men he wanted, and believes the club has boxed clever in a challenging market.

He said: “We didn’t spend the money in January, which enabled us to keep hold of it and make sure that we could get the players that we wanted to get in this summer. I think that was a smart move.

“I’ve worked tirelessly alongside Steve, Lee Charnley and the scouting department. We try to work together – of course, it’s impossible for me to see every single player.

“But we all thought that with the short pre-season, with the build-up not being long, to get people settled into a new environment, let’s go for a little bit of the tried and tested. I think it’s certainly helped us.”

With £13.5million full-back Jamal Lewis also making an impressive bow at West Ham and goalkeeper Mark Gillespie claiming a clean sheet against Rovers, Newcastle have enjoyed as positive a transfer window as they have had for some time.

As a result, Bruce and his players have started the new campaign – which continues with Sunday’s home clash with Brighton – in a far more positive environment than they did the last, when the former Manchester United defender also had to contend with popular disquiet over his own appointment.

He said: “It was difficult coming through the door 12 months ago. There was not a lot of time to work with the team and blah, blah, blah. But there’s nothing like a couple of results – that helps.

“The work we’ve done in the transfer market has given everyone a lift, not just the manager, but the group of players and the supporters.

“You reporters now see a group of players where you think, ‘Newcastle have a half-decent squad’, and that’s the improvement that you want in 12 months.”