Steve Bruce was 'consulted' before Newcastle United made any signings last summer - but the Magpies' head coach admits he has worked 'tirelessly' with club staff to target the 'tried and tested' this time around.

The 59-year-old was parachuted into the hot seat just three-and-a-half weeks before the season started last year and a number of foreign-based targets aged 25 and under had already been identified.

Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin and Jetro Willems were among those players who were aware of Newcastle's interest several months before Bruce's appointment.

Having since had time to assess his squad - Valentino Lazaro, Nabil Bentaleb and Danny Rose were brought in on short-term loan deals in January - Bruce was keen on signing experienced players this summer given the short turnaround before the new campaign got under way.

"I was always consulted on the players that we brought in," he told reporters on a Zoom call. "Last year was late but, certainly, I worked tirelessly with Steve Nickson on what we did in January and I thought our work in January was excellent with the loan players we brought in.

"We didn't spend the money in January, which enabled us to keep hold of it and make sure that we could get the players that we wanted to get in this summer.

"I think that was a smart move but I've worked tirelessly alongside Steve, Lee Charnley and the scouting department.

"We try and work together and, of course, it's impossible for me to see every single player but we all thought that with the short pre-season, with the build-up not being long, to get people settled into a new environment, let's go for a little bit of the tried and tested. I think it's certainly helped us."

Following the arrival of goalkeeper Mark Gillespie in July, Newcastle have gone on to make four further signings this summer and Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, Jamal Lewis and Jeff Hendrick all have top-flight experience so have not needed long to settle.

Bruce feels it is 'itching towards' being his own team but has long stressed that 'you can't just change overnight' given the small windows of opportunity to do business.

"It was difficult coming through the door 12 months ago," he added. "There was not a lot of time to work with the team and blah blah blah. But there's nothing like a couple of results - and that helps.

"The work we've done in the transfer market has given everyone a lift. Not just the manager but the group of players and the supporters.

Jamal Lewis, Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson
Jamal Lewis, Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson

"You reporters now see a group of players where you think, 'Newcastle have a half decent squad' and that's the improvement that you want in 12 months.

"With that improvement, you need a bit of help and thankfully I received that help last week in what we did in the transfer market.

"I think the addition of the five players has given everyone a lift at just the right time and the timing of it, a week before the season started, was perfect."