AMID all the talk of transfer summits and targets, signing and sales, perhaps by the time the dust settles at the end of the month, the key moment of Newcastle United’s January window will have taken place on the pitch rather than in the boardroom.

An FA Cup third-round replay strike against Rochdale might not sound like much when you’re a £40m striker, but you only had to look at Joelinton’s face as he swept home Newcastle’s fourth and final goal on Tuesday night to see just what ending a 20-game goal drought meant to the Brazilian, who was the Magpies’ record-breaking purchase in the summer window.

Tearing towards Steve Bruce on the touchline, the pent-up frustration of five goalless months was etched across Joelinton’s face. Gradually, it was replaced by joy, an emotion that was shared by the team-mates who tore towards the St James’ Park dug-outs with him.

The current Newcastle squad is a closely-knit group, and just as they had supported Miguel Almiron as he acclimatised to life in the Premier League, so Joelinton’s colleagues have continued to back him to the hilt.

Training alongside him every day, they see the attributes that persuaded Newcastle’s risk-averse owners to break their club’s long-standing transfer record to sign him from Hoffenheim. The hope now is that, after Tuesday night, the floodgates will open.

“You could see everyone’s reaction the minute he scored,” said Magpies skipper Jamaal Lascelles, who had been taken off and replaced by youngster Thomas Allan by the time Joelinton scored. “I was jumping up and nearly went on the pitch!

“He’s a really good player and it’s tough for him. He’s playing up there by himself most games and fighting centre-halves. He does do a lot for the team and now he’s got a goal. Hopefully, it can give him the confidence to start banging in more goals for us.

“The way he is in the dressing room is probably what makes it even harder for us to see him go weeks and weeks and weeks without scoring. You just want him to score.

“He’s a great professional. He’s there early and puts in the work at training, is in the gym and keeps his head down and doesn’t moan about anything. He genuinely does care and works hard for the club, so I was over the moon for him to get a little relief and hopefully it can boost him for more games to come.”

An improved Joelinton would be a major asset in the second half of the season, but the Brazilian’s increased confidence is not the only thing putting a smile on Bruce’s face at the minute.

As well as discussing transfer plans with Mike Ashley, who ended his St James’ Park exile to watch his first Newcastle home game of the season on Tuesday, the Newcastle boss has also been welcoming a number of his injured players back into the fold this week.

Lascelles made his first appearance since early November against Rochdale, while Matt Ritchie made his first start suffering a serious ankle injury in the Carabao Cup defeat to Leicester City at the end of August.

Fabian Schar, Jonjo Shelvey and Allan Saint-Maximin should also return before the end of the month, providing Bruce with the kind of squad depth that has been badly lacking in the last few weeks.

“It’s a bit weird all the injuries we’ve had,” said Lascelles. “All the muscle injuries. I’m sure having me and Matt back is a boost for the team and hopefully we can see out the rest of the season without getting too many more injuries.

“It’s a real boost for the squad and the fans. Matt coming back, who’s a key player for us, and myself and the big man getting the goal, it’s all encouraging stuff. We’ll be full of confidence going into the game on Saturday (at home to Chelsea).”