Newcastle United's summer signings are preparing for the busiest festive period of their careers - and Steve Bruce believes the injured Allan Saint-Maximin's battle with the cold reflects what a challenge that is for them.

The Magpies are embarking on a run of four games in 11 days as part of a packed Premier League fixture schedule between now and New Year's Day.

Saint-Maximin and Emil Krafth previously played in Ligue 1, where there are no games scheduled between December 22 and January 9, while Joelinton and Jetro Willems would have had a further week off if they stayed in the Bundesliga.

Regardless, Saint-Maximin will be sidelined for the next few weeks with a hamstring injury he suffered in the dying moments of the 2-1 win against Southampton earlier this month.

Before that game, the shivering Frenchman attempted to stay warm by jogging on the spot before joining the team huddle - which sums up what a change it has been from life in Nice where temperatures are currently 17C.

"That's why I hope we can get better. The longer they're here, the more they adapt to the North East winter," Bruce told ChronicleLive.

"They have got to adapt to a lot of things. The picture of Allan last week before the game - he has never known cold like it - so he has to adapt. It's all of them things you have to adapt to and get better with and that's part and parcel of it."

Newcastle welcome Crystal Palace to St James' Park on Saturday before playing Manchester United on Boxing Day, Everton on December 28 and Leicester City on New Year's Day.

Allan Saint-Maximin of Newcastle United goes off injured during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton FC
Allan Saint-Maximin of Newcastle United goes off injured during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton FC

Injuries have already taken their toll on the squad - the Magpies were without eight players for the trip to Burnley last week - and Bruce knows some huge tests await.

"It's difficult for the players - it's a difficult situation. Look, a football player trains every day and can play every day, but you can't play with the intensity in the fourth game that you did in the first game," he said.

"Finding that balance, how we help them recover, how they eat, how they sleep, how they rest, all of the things we will try and put in place but it is ludicrous.

"We play something like 12, 13 games in the first four months then you have got four games in 11 days which, arguably, not define your season but when games come thick and fast, the Premier League table changes quickly.

"Let's hope we use it to our advantage. Out of them four, we've got three at home. Our home form, touch wood, has stacked up so let's hope we can continue that."

For the third year running, Newcastle players have decided against having a Christmas party and the festive ritual is not as common as it once was in the Premier League.

In previous years, Newcastle felt having a festive get together would send the wrong message given the club's position in the table and there has not been a rush to change that stance despite the Magpies being seven points clear of the relegation zone.

"I think we have come to an understanding that at this particular time, when everyone else is in the festive season, it isn't for us so let's accept it, let's get past the Christmas period and let everything settle down and, maybe, in January, we can go and have a night out or whatever comes along," he added.

"I think they're respectful enough to know that Christmas, yes, for everyone else is a wonderful time but for a professional footballer, it's your busiest time so we accept that.

"We have been given many great things that are part of being a football player and most of the time, maybe apart from Christmas, it's the best job in the world."