Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce suspects it will be challenging for the Magpies to recruit players in the January transfer window.

Despite being 13th in the Premier League, Newcastle are only five points clear of the relegation and have scored just 20 goals this season – only Crystal Palace and Watford have scored fewer.

Joelinton, a £40m summer signing from Hoffenheim, has only scored once in the league – in a 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in August.

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But Bruce admitted it is unlikely that his side will be strengthened in the window. Ahead of the trip to Wolves, he said: “I’ve said from day one that January is always going to be difficult and I haven’t changed on it.

“We have to have people who are going to come and improve us and that’s difficult to find at this particular moment. If there’s something available and we can act and there’s a deal to be done, then we’ll try to do it. It’s as simple as that.”

Despite recruitment being unlikely, Bruce’s side are boosted by a number of players on the Magpies’ large injury list becoming available.

The English coach confirmed that defenders Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark and Jetro Willems are available. There is also welcome news for Newcastle’s goal-shy attack, as Dwight Gayle, Andy Carroll and Miguel Almiron are all fully fit.

A number of senior players remain sidelined, though, with Fabian Schar, Javier Manquillo, Jonjo Shelvey and captain Jamaal Lascelles remaining sidelined.

Bruce said he expects the “vast majority” of his injured players to return for Newcastle’s match with Chelsea on Saturday 18 January.

One such player is winger Allan Saint-Maximin, who is nearing fitness after picking up a hamstring injury last month. “Allan’s trained the last two or three days on the grass, but he’s not ready,” said Bruce.

Joelinton has scored just once this season

There has not been much action in the January transfer window so far and this comes as no surprise to Bruce. The 59-year-old said: “Look, there have been one or two sensational transfers over the years – [Virgil] van Dijk was a January sale, I believe.

“There have been some sensational ones, but usually teams don’t want to sell their best players.

“They’re either fighting at one end or fighting at the other end, so it’s difficult, difficult market and what you end up doing is looking at people who have fallen out with somebody, and that’s not usually a good thing either.”

The Magpies are without a win in four matches in all competitions, and Bruce sees cutting out individual mistakes as key to his side’s chances, saying: “We’ve got to find that resilience again and we’ve got to stop making individual errors.

“That’s cost us badly in the last couple of games, especially away. We’ll have to defend well, catch them, and create something at the other end.

“First and foremost Wolves are a very, very good team. They’ve bought extremely well and it’s no fluke where they ended up last year. They’ve carried that on this year.”

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