Newcastle boss Bruce relaxed about Almiron's goal drought

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v Newcastle United - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - September 29, 2019 Newcastle United's Miguel Almiron in action with Leicester City's Ben Chilwell REUTERS/Andrew Yates

(Reuters) - Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce is happy to welcome Miguel Almiron back into the squad for the festive period despite the playmaker’s barren spell in front of goal.

Almiron, who is yet to score for Newcastle since his 21 million pounds ($27 million) January move from Atlanta United, is available for Saturday’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Newcastle have managed just 17 goals in 17 league games this season but Bruce is satisfied with Paraguay international Almiron’s overall contribution on the pitch.

“I understand that he hasn’t scored,” Bruce told a news conference on Friday.

“In January when he arrived, he gave the impetus to the team, and really nothing has changed in that respect, as far as I’m concerned.

“He’s a smashing player who we all enjoy playing in the team, and as long as he contributes to the team. If he can add a few goals to it, great, but at the moment, I’m very, very pleased with him.”

Bruce confirmed midfielder Jonjo Shelvey could also return to the squad this weekend after missing Newcastle’s 1-0 defeat by Burnley last weekend due to a calf strain.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis