However, the relegation-threatened club has taken a couple of steps backwards in another sense.
Already hit by injuries, Steve Bruce lost three players – Fabian Schar, Callum Wilson and Javier Manquillo – during Saturday’s 3-2 Premier League win over Southampton.
There are fears that Schar may not play again this season after suffering a knee injury at St James’s Park.
“Difficult to accept,” Schar tweeted. “I felt really good on the pitch, and the team did well the last few games. Now I will be out for a few months, and it’s gonna be a hard time.”
While Schar’s injury came from a 50-50 challenge, other players have suffered muscle problems on their returns from Covid-19.
“We’re taking one step forward, it seems, and always two back, which is down to illness,” said Bruce.
“You understand why managers are complaining, because we’re simply playing too much. Too much in December and January. Most clubs are falling to pieces with it.”
Bruce, now assisted by Jones, was already with a number of players, notably defenders Jamaal Lascelles and Federico Fernandez, who suffered muscle injuries after returning from Covid-19.
Next up are Chelsea, though Bruce and Jones, appointed as assistant to United’s head coach late last month, have a few extra days to prepare given that the club’s visit to Stamford Bridge has been put back to February 15.
“We’ve got a few days to recover, which we badly need,” said Bruce. “We’ll dust ourselves down and see who we’ve got fit. A nice easy one in Chelsea away next up.”
Lascelles gave a positive update on his injury in his programme column, though the Chelsea game could come too soon for him.
“I’ve had my scan and the result was probably the best outcome I could have had,” said Lascelles. “It isn’t anything too bad.
“Obviously, it’s still frustrating, though. I’ve been out for two months because of Covid, built my fitness back up in the games I played, and then I felt my hamstring just when I was starting to get to full fitness. Thankfully, it definitely isn’t as bad as it could have been.”
Bruce was also without Ciaran Clark for the Southampton game after the defender's partner went into labour on the eve of the fixture.
Clark’s absence saw midfielder Isaac Hayden drop back into a familiar position, and the 25-year-old put in another fiercely-competitive performance in the heart of Newcastle’s defence.
Hayden, most likely, will be needed in defence again in the coming weeks.
“When he was a kid, he played there for Arsenal,” said Bruce. “I remember my chief scout at the time, when I took him to Hull, thought that his best position was a centre-back.
"I thought Isaac’s best position was a centre-back, and when he produces a performance like that, you can understand why. It’s good to have. We needed him. We’re down to the bare bones, and then with another one in Fab, it’s a ludicrous situation at the minute.”
Hayden – who also had a spell out with Covid-19 – is now one of the most important players in Bruce’s squad.