STEVE BRUCE does not expect Newcastle United to make a raft of signings in the January transfer window, and has hinted he will be happy to see out the season with the group of players currently at his disposal.

The Magpies return to action at Sheffield United this evening looking to improve on their last away display, which resulted in a tame defeat at Aston Villa.

Bruce’s side turned in a much better performance as they drew 2-2 with reigning champions Manchester City last weekend, and having already recorded victories over Tottenham and Manchester United this season, the Magpies manager feels there is considerable untapped potential within his current squad.

He has held preliminary discussions about the January window and is working with his recruitment team to monitor a number of potential targets, but having seen how difficult it is to sign players in January on a number of occasions, is not anticipating a flurry of transfer activity at the turn of the year.

“I've said all along, if there's something that can improve us, (he will look to make signings), but if I'm brutally honest, I can't see it in January because nobody wants to sell their players,” said Bruce, who started his managerial career at Bramall Lane. “If you're not any better than what you've got, then what's the point?

“I've been delighted with the squad so far. I still haven't seen some of them. I haven't seen Dwight Gayle, really. I haven't seen (Yoshinori) Muto really playing for me. I haven't seen (Florian) Lejeune play for me.

“There's a few that I still haven't seen play and that's where you need time. It's okay on the training ground - you could be the best player in the world on the training ground – but it’s a bit different in front of 50,000 on a Saturday. Until I see that, then I can't make my mind up on someone.”

Andy Carroll is another player that has had precious little opportunity to impress under Bruce, but having been forced to sit out last weekend’s game because of a rib problem, the striker trained yesterday and is in contention for a return to the squad tonight.

Carroll is still to make his first start since re-joining Newcastle as a free agent in the summer, with Gayle seemingly having leaped ahead of him in the attacking pecking order.

Neither forward will dislodge Joelinton from the starting line-up in Sheffield, but with Newcastle facing a run of seven games in the next four weeks, both should find themselves in the starting line-up before the end of the year provided they remain fit.

That could mean Joelinton dropping to the bench, but it could also result in the Brazilian, who has scored one goal in 13 appearances since his club-record move from Hoffenheim, shuffling across to the flank.

“We speak with Joe all the time to try and help him,” said Bruce. “There's no disputing that he's finding it tough at the minute because of what goes with being Newcastle's centre forward and a big price tag.

“He's just got to keep working away and let's hope we can try and keep encouraging him if we can. He has to get into the box more often. In that respect, you can see why half of his career was played to a side in a 4-3-3.

“When I saw him play live, he played on the left-hand side against Man City in the Champions League. You can understand it because half of his career he hasn't been a natural centre-forward so that might give me a bit of a food for thought later to play him on the left if we've got a problem.”

As well as Carroll being available, Bruce should also be able to call on DeAndre Yedlin this evening, with the American full-back having taken part in a full training session yesterday after recovering from a hip issue.

However, Javier Manquillo is set to retain his place in the starting side after performing so impressively against Manchester City.

Newcastle (probable, 3-4-2-1): Dubravka; Fernandez, Clark, Dummett; Manquillo, Hayden, Shelvey, Willems; Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.