Eddie Howe eying signings to bolster Newcastle’s survival push
The Magpies gave their survival chances a big lift as Jonjo Shelvey’s second-half free-kick clinched them a 1-0 win at Leeds to lift them to within a point of safety.
Howe described recent signings Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood as “magnificent” in his side’s second victory of the season and hopes to add more new players before the current window closes.
“I’ve always said from day one I back the players we have, regardless of who we recruit,” said Howe, whose squad will now head to Saudi Arabia for a mid-season training camp.
“But I think today you saw the power of recruitment. Looking at Chris Wood and Kieran Trippier, I thought they were magnificent for the team.
“They made huge contributions to the match and that’s the power. If you can get it right I think you can elevate the team and help the team to greater heights.
“We’re still looking to do that, but I do back the players that we have here already.”
Shelvey’s solitary 75th-minute strike at Elland Road proved the difference as Newcastle dug deep to withstand long spells of pressure.
They grew in stature as the game entered the closing stages and could have added a second goal but for Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier’s superb save to keep out Joe Willock’s late effort.
Howe feels the win could mark the turning point for his side this season.
He added: “Today we learnt that there’s a resilience in the team, the team were fighting for each other.
“They’re fighting for the club and they have belief that we’re not dead and buried and that there’s more to come.
“I thought it was a big, big match for us and hopefully it can transform our season.”
That season now heads to Saudi Arabia, where Howe’s men will play a behind-closed-doors clash with Al-Ittihad on Friday.
Leeds appeared on course for a third straight league win to ease their own relegation fears as they swarmed all over Newcastle in the first half.
But their final touch in the penalty area once again deserted them, highlighting how much they are missing injured striker Patrick Bamford.
Leeds’ leading goalscorer for the past two seasons has made only six league appearances in this campaign due to ankle and hip injuries and faces an extended spell on the sidelines after sustaining a fresh problem in his foot.
When asked if Bamford would be ready for Leeds’ next game at Aston Villa on February 9, boss Marcelo Bielsa said: “I have my doubts. I’m not sure.
“It’s not just about being able to count on him, it’s that he arrives in conditions to develop his game.
“A player who’s gone so long without playing, it opens up a question mark, after he is healthy, (about) how long he needs to show his regularity.”