THEY are still to hit the goal trail in a black-and-white shirt, but Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron retain the support of their Newcastle United team-mates as they look to add an end product to their promising attacking displays.

Twelve games into the Premier League season, and both Saint-Maximin and Almiron are still waiting for their first Newcastle goal.

Their fellow forward, Joelinton, has netted just once since completing a club-record summer move from Hoffenheim, but while the bare statistics might not make for pleasant reading, the performance levels produced by Newcastle’s current front three have been much more impressive.

Having run the West Ham defence ragged in a 3-2 win at the London Stadium, the Magpies’ attacking triumvirate caused more problems in the 2-1 success over Bournemouth that preceded the international break, and as they begin to turn their thoughts towards next Monday’s resumption of Premier League action at Aston Villa, they continue to have the strong support of those playing behind them.

“Sometimes, you just need the one goal, and it will come,” said goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. “Miguel and Allan are working really hard, and the team effort is always there.

“It’s not really important who scores, but obviously it will be better for the strikers, for their confidence, to score some goals. At least we’re working really hard and creating chances, and hopefully it will come.”

Saint-Maximin has come close to breaking his duck on a couple of occasions, while Almiron scored the winner for Paraguay last week as they claimed a friendly victory over Bulgaria in Sofia. Neither player lacks confidence, and provided they continue getting themselves into goalscoring positions, Dubravka is confident their opening goal will come.

“They’ve got speed, and the opposition need to be aware of these players,” said the Slovakian. “In two seconds, they can be in their box. I’m very glad that they’re in our team, and they can be our strength.

“Hopefully, we can use them in the next game and they will score some goals, because they need that for their self-confidence. We’re going to support them.”

Newcastle’s collective confidence was apparent from the way in which they successfully overhauled a one-goal deficit to triumph against Bournemouth, and they will travel to Villa Park on Monday night in a buoyant mood.

Since being thrashed at Leicester City at the start of last month, Steve Bruce’s side have beaten Manchester United, West Ham and Bournemouth, drawn with Wolves, and suffered a narrow but creditable defeat at Chelsea.

They have successfully banished the memory of their capitulation at the King Power Stadium, and while no one will want to revisit the 5-0 defeat, it proved a key moment in transforming the fortunes of a squad that were stung by the criticism that accompanied their collapse.

“That game was probably the worst from our side,” admitted Dubravka. “We knew that. It was important that we learnt from that game.

“We analysed what we should have done better on the pitch, and I’m really glad that the players, like Saint-Maximin and Miguel, are now showing their skills. It’s important for us to have them. But everyone on the pitch has been doing everything to win games.”

Dubravka was in goal at the weekend as Slovakia’s hopes of qualifying for next summer’s European Championships suffered a major blow as they lost 3-1 to Croatia.

The Slovaks play their final qualifier at home to Azerbaijan tonight, and will qualify for Euro 2020 if they win and Wales’ match against Hungary finishes in a draw.