"The kid a bloody good player," Steve Bruce responded firmly as he faced another round of questions on the goal-shy Miguel Almiron.

Newcastle United's No 24 has still yet to register his first goal for the club since joining on deadline day of the last winter window - and that stat has seen him come in for some criticism.

But while some pundits have singled out Almiron, Bruce maintains that the threat the forward carries means he isn't about to do the same, even if he understands why some might.

"If you're a forward player you can be judged, unfortunately, on goals and assists, so in that respect I understand you have to face that.

"But he will never get any criticism from be because he is a team player and has done fantastically well - he's been terrific for us."

While Almiron has only registered one assist, he's played a crucial role in several goals this season and Bruce feels that once he gets one goal, more will follow.

Bruce is even hoping that the much searched goal comes against Crystal Palace this weekend.

"With results going well there is not that urgency for him to score, but the longer it goes personally, it is harder.

"But look he will score and hopefully tomorrow.

"I honestly think the vast majority of fans want to see him score, I think they think he deserves it.

"He is a great team layer, gives everything every week.

"If a supporter sees that, I always think they will be okay.

"We all want him to score.

"Let's hope he can be the match-winner against Palace.

"If he does score, hopefully he will go on a run and score a few, that will help us."

For many players, failing to score in such a long time would leave some struggling with confidence but for Almiron the fact he has yet to find the net doesn't appear to be weighing too much on his shoulders.

The 24-year-old remains a bubbly character in the dressing room, and is smiling on the training pitch as he continues to impress Bruce with his work ethic and attitude.

"I have just said to him to keep well and bright," Bruce replied when asked if Almiron has needed an arm around the shoulder.

"He trains unbelievably every day, I have never seen stats like he had couple of weeks ago, his physical attributes are incredible, intensity, sprint distances, at West Ham as big as I have ever seen.

"He gives us that every week and he is so important for the team."

The positive for Almiron is that he is still creating chances but is just having no luck - Bruce highlighting his effort against Bournemouth that struck Saint-Maxmin as an example that 'sums it all up' when it comes to Almiron.

With every opportunity, the crowd are willing Almiron on to nab that first goal.

“The whole of Newcastle wants him to score that goal," Bruce added.

"You can just feel it in the ground. I was not here last year but my mates tell me that in January he was the spark which gave the team a lift at just the right time.

“Certainly since I walked through the door, he has been a delight to mange. Hard working, always smiling, great pro, good man. And a great team player. When you have someone like that, you want them to do well and you're hoping the goal will come soon.

“Until it does, you'll be asking these questions but certainly I have no problems with him.

“He can finish. Make no mistake.

"Look, I know it is a different league but when he was at Atlanta, he scored and last two internationals he found the net.

And what happens when he does eventually score?

"His team mates will be absolutely delighted for him," Bruce adds.

"The kid is a bloody good player. We all love to score and he is a big part of this team.

"He has been a good player for me and before I came, he was terrific, hitting the post in his first game against Huddersfield."