STEVE BRUCE thinks Newcastle United have already seen a glimpse of what Joelinton’s long-awaited second goal for Newcastle United can do for the striker’s confidence.

The Magpies head coach will now head into transfer talks with the club’s owner Mike Ashley in buoyant mood after watching his side cruise into the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Newcastle eased beyond Rochdale, of League One, at St James’ Park last night in front of Ashley, who has arrived in the North-East to discuss the window plans with Bruce.

The Newcastle boss wants some extra funds to strengthen his squad before the January 31 deadline knowing how his squad has been rocked with a lengthy injury-list.

But he was boosted with a first goal in 20 matches for Joelinton ahead of this Saturday’s visit of Chelsea to St James’ Park.

The Brazilian club record buy moved to convert a brilliant low cross from debutant Tom Allan with eight minutes left to score Newcastle’s fourth and final goal against Rochdale.

And Bruce, who has had to deal with regular calls for him to drop Joelinton, said: “I said all along I defended Miguel Almiron. I got asked the same question week in, week out.

“You could see within five minutes what a difference it made to him. Look, he’s only young. He’s got a big burden to carry. We must stay positive with him and keep reminding him he’s a good player.

“He’s part of nearly every game. The kid wants to do well. Of course, he’ll have wanted to do better than he has done. He can only improve and get better. We were determined to leave him on and see if he can score a goal.”

When Joelinton hit the net he turned away and headed straight along the touchline towards the Newcastle dug-out, where Bruce, the backroom staff and his team-mates jumped up to congratulate him.

Bruce said: “It’s my job to get the best out of all of the team. When you’re low on confident, sometimes you need support. Let’s hope it can give him that little bit of confidence.”

Newcastle will now play another League One club in Oxford United, conquerors of Hartlepool in the last round, at St James’ Park a week on Saturday.

Bruce could become the first Newcastle boss to guide the team through to the fifth round during the Ashley era if they can defeat the U’s.

Defeating Rochdale was particularly satisfying for Bruce because, as well as Joelinton’s goal, Matt Ritchie and Jamaal Lascelles both returned from long lay-offs and came through unscathed.

“Some people needed it, we’ve used the cup for people like Jamaal and Ritchie in particular,” said Bruce. “They’ve all come through it, Jonjo Shelvey and Andy Carroll as well. Everybody’s good. We look forward to the next round.

“You can’t ask for anything more than a home draw. If we show the same attitude, we’ll be OK. I have to say well done to the supporters. Nearly 30,000 is an unbelievable gate for this time. We’ve been without some of our big players. Ritchie, when he’s around, the whole place is alive. He’s a great pro.”

Sections of Newcastle supporters also chanted Bruce’s name during a convincing first half when an own goal from Eoghan O’Connell was followed by goals from Matty Longstaff and Miguel Almiron. The latter scored for the fourth time in seven matches.

“It’s only taken until Christmas!” said Bruce. “Results will always help us. We’ve still got a lot to do. We’ve had a tough three or four weeks with the injuries and results. We’ll hopefully have a few back. When we have a few back, we’ll be OK.”

Bruce confirmed once again that he will be meeting Ashley before this Saturday’s visit of Chelsea.

The Newcastle boss: “Hopefully sometime. Nothing planned just yet. I’m sure you’ll find out when and where it is. He’s here for a day or two, so year, we’ll meet up.

“It’s the same as what I’ve said all along. He’s been supportive since I’ve walked through the door. If there’s somebody there who can improve us we’ll try and act.

“In the Premier League at the minute, there have been three deals done. That’s how difficult it is. People don’t want to sell their best players. I’ll only act if it’s somebody who’ll improve us.”