Newcastle United new boy Joe Willock watched on from the stands as the Magpies lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace.
His arrival looks to have already given Jonjo Shelvey a bit of a nudge after he scored his first goal of the season in the narrow loss and judging by last night’s defeat, Willock will take the place of Jeff Hendrick given the Irish international had a poor game and Isaac Hayden is probably the best option at anchor man.
Yet Newcastle will need more than just Willock to hit the ground running against Southampton on Saturday afternoon.
They must rediscover their clinical edge, something that deserted them in the second period against the Eagles.
It’s OK creating 21 chances but taking just one of them when you have won just six matches all season is asking for trouble.
Newcastle can take heart from the fact Southampton were stuffed 9-0 at Man United and defensive gaps are surely there to be exposed at the weekend.
Graeme Jones watches on from the stand
The newly appointed coach watched the first 10 minutes of the game from the Milburn Stand alongside Ben Dawson.
But he soon made his way to pitch level and was back in the technical area to join Steve Bruce and his coaches on a foul night of weather on Tyneside.
He has now seen two sides of this United team.
The one that can get on the front-foot and create, but also the one that switches off and concedes sloppy goals without the ability to fight back.
His note pad should be bursting after last night’s frustrating encounter at St James’ Park.
Steve Bruce believes Newcastle have turned the corner – but will results follow
The Magpies still have work to do to stave off the lingering threat of relegation but they have just 16 games to work with.
They require at least five more wins, in my opinion, to push them to 37 points which will surely be enough this year given the state of the bottom three.
However, they could have chalked off one of those victories at home to Palace.
After the game Bruce was adamant that they were on their way to turning it around, he said: “Our performance levels have been better certainly over the last few weeks.
“We have tried to implement change in the last month or so and what you’re looking for is a performance to go with it.
“As often in the Premier League, it’s defining moments.
“Apart from that 10 to 15-minute spell, we had the better chances and should have taken something from the game.”