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Mike Ashley on Tyneside for transfer summit as Joelinton ends Newcastle goal drought

Fans at St James' Park chanted St Bruce's name, with owner Mike Ashley watching from the stands. Credit: PA Images

Steve Bruce will enter transfer talks with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley having guided his side to a comfortable 4-1 victory against Rochdale in Tuesday’s FA cup third round replay.

The sportswear tycoon made a rare appearance at St James’ Park, watching £40m summer signing Joelinton end a 21-game goal drought, helping the Magpies to a fourth-round tie against Oxford.

The Brazilian forward, who came to Tyneside from German side Hoffenheim in July 2019, has not scored since August and celebrated by running over to Bruce, hugging him on the touchline.

Joelinton celebrates ending his goalless spell at Newcastle, hugging manager Steve Bruce in an emotional display of relief. Credit: PA Images

Asked about the goal, Bruce said, "Look, he’s been part of nearly every game, he never misses a training session, the kid wants to well. Of course, he would like to have done better than he has done, but he can only improve and get better and that’s my job, to keep pushing him along."

Newcastle fans will hope their side’s confident display does not deter Ashley from turning on the spending taps. Rochdale conceded three times inside the opening 26 minutes, with Miguel Almirón taking his fourth goal in seven games.

The Magpies now face a home tie against third tier Oxford. Newcastle have not progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup since 2006.

Bruce’s transfer summit with the billionaire owner is expected to take place this week. The squad is dogged by injuries. Newcastle were without 10 players for Saturday’s draw at Wolves.

Promising to go into the meeting with a clear message, Bruce has said he will not sign players for the sake of it.

I keep saying if I can improve the team, then we’ll try to improve it. If I can’t, then I’ve got to be patient to wait because if we don’t, then we just go still though the same cycle and we don’t improve as a team.

You’ve seen the difference Saint-Maximimin and Almiron have made in particular. That bit of quality is always what you need in the Premier League and rather than have masses, I would rather just have one or two.

– Steve Bruce