Henri Saivet left in the 'wilderness' at Newcastle United
Steve Bruce is adamant that his Newcastle United squad is strong enough – after the transfer window closed without another signing.
The club signed four players – Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, Jeff Hendrick and Mark Gillespie – in the summer.
And today’s 5pm domestic transfer deadline passed without United signing another player.
Fans have asked whether there is enough cover up front – and at the back.
However, Bruce believes that he has the players he needs for the coming months now the club’s injury list is shortening.
Matty Longstaff, Paul Dummett and Ciaran Clark will also make their comebacks in an Under-23 game against Fulham at St James’s Park on Monday.
“I said a week before the window closed that I couldn’t envisage that we’d be doing anything else,” said United’s head coach.
“Certainly, when I look around, the injuries are all getting better now. Three of them are playing on Monday – Clark, Dummett, Longstaff. So, I was very pleased at what we’ve done.
"I didn’t envisage jumping into the Championship. I was hoping that a few of the Championship clubs might have took a few of ours, and that might have freed a few things up, but I was very, very pleased with what we’ve done, so fine.”
Newcastle did sign 19-year-old defender Bradley Cross before the deadline.
Bruce has been keen to move out a number of players who won’t make his 25-man Premier League squad.
Christian Atsu, Henri Saivet, Achraf Lazaar and Rolando Aarons were all made available for transfer in the summer. However, clubs have been unwilling to take on even a proportion of their Premier League wages.
"They need to get career up and going,” said Bruce. “They earn decent money. We would do deals with other clubs, but the phone’s got to ring for them. They need to get on with their careers. It’s not their fault. They’re working hard.”
Asked how he would manage the situation, Bruce said: “It’s not the easiest, of course.
"Last year, Saivet, in particular, and Jack Colback were in that unfortunate situation. I have to see I’m so pleased that Jack got fixed up (at Nottingham Forest).
"Unfortunately, Henri still finds himself in the wilderness at the minute. It’s not a great situation for anybody, so I’ll manage it as best I can. We need them players to get playing and get on with their careers a little bit.
"If they’re not playing for us, they haven’t got anything to look forward to on a Saturday, then it does become a difficult time. We’ll manage it as best we can.”
Meanwhile, Bruce has challenged Allan Saint-Maximin to write himself into Newcastle’s history after the winger signed a new six-year deal at the club.
“He’s done well enough for the club to reward him with a new six-year deal,” said Bruce. “Now the next step for him is to go and really be part of the history of this great club of ours.
“Can he be a David Ginola? He can be anything he wants to be. Let’s be brutally honest, he can be anything he wants to be.”