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Steve Bruce has ‘clear message’ ahead of transfer talks with Mike Ashley

Steve Bruce will head into transfer talks with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley having guided the club into the fourth round of the FA Cup.

The sportswear tycoon was at St James’ Park on Tuesday evening as the Magpies beat League One Rochdale 4-1 in a third round replay on a night when £40million summer signing Joelinton scored for the first time in 21 games and £21million team-mate Miguel Almiron took his tally to four in his last seven.

Head coach Bruce has insisted he will not sign players for the sake of it and will go into the meeting with a clear message.

He said: “I keep saying if I can improve the team, then we’ll try to improve it. If I can’t, then I’ve got to be patient to wait because if we don’t, then we just go still through the same cycle and we don’t improve as a team.

“You’ve seen the difference Saint-Maximin and Almiron have made in particular. That bit of quality is always what you need in the Premier League and rather than have masses, I would rather just have one or two.”

Whatever the outcome of those discussions, Newcastle will have a home tie against third tier Oxford to look forward to as they attempt to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2006, before Ashley bought the club.

Newcastle United’s Joelinton

Newcastle United’s Joelinton was among the scorers (Owen Humphreys/PA)

It was secured by Eoghan O’Connell’s own goal and further strikes by Matty Longstaff, Almiron and Joelinton before Jordan Williams pulled one back for the visitors at the death.

Asked about the £40million Brazilian’s long overdue second goal for the club, Bruce said: “Look, he’s been part of nearly every game, he never misses a training session, the kid wants to do well.

“Of course, he would like to have done better than he has done, but he can only improve and get better and that’s my job, to keep pushing him along.”

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Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy admitted his side, which trailed 3-0 after 26 minutes, had given itself a mountain to climb, but was delighted with the way his players responded in adversity.

He said: “We gave away what we would consider really poor goals in the first half and it had quite a heavy impact on us in terms of the scoreline and we weren’t able to recover from that.

“But in the second half, the lads displayed their skills and a lot of courage and we managed to score a goal, which was great for the supporters.”

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