Steve Bruce 'delighted' for this Newcastle United player

Mark Gillespie is the lowest-profile recruit so far at Newcastle United.

The free agent, however, had a big impact in goal on his debut. Gillespie – who left Newcastle aged 16 to sign for Carlisle United – made an important double save in Tuesday night's 1-0 Carabao Cup win over Blackburn Rovers at St James’s Park.

And Gillespie’s confident performance has buoyed Bruce, who has seen three of his new signings – Callum Wilson, Jeff Hendrick and Ryan Fraser – score in the club’s first two games.

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“They’ve had a really good week,” said Bruce. “Mark Gillespie hasn’t hit the headlines, but in his own way, to come back, he’s done great. We’re delighted for him. Ryan Fraser scored a goal, and, of course, the contribution of the other three (Wilson, Hendrick and Jamal Lewis) at West Ham was clear for all to see.

“There’s nothing like when a good player walks through the door to help you. The four or five have bolstered the squad. There’s a feelgood factor, which is good. You get that through results.”

Karl Darlow will be back in goal for Sunday’s Premier League home game against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Bruce believes that the club’s squad is stronger than it was a year ago.

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“We’re a lot stronger than we were,” said United’s head coach. “The four or five lads who have walked through the door have made the squad bigger and better.

Mark Gillespie.Mark Gillespie.
Mark Gillespie.

"Can we keep improving? Certainly, on the evidence of the last few weeks, I can say the squad has definitely improved.”