NEWCASTLE United are buoyant ahead of Saturday’s visit to Villa Park - despite the club’s transfer-window failings.
United signed just one senior player this summer - loanee Loic Remy.
And the club’s lack of investment in the window angered fans.
But Newcastle manager Alan Pardew - who had wanted at least one more arrival in the summer - is adamant that dressing-room morale hasn’t been affected.
United beat Fulham 1-0 in their last outing, and Pardew senses a confidence in his dressing room ahead of the Aston Villa game.
“We are looking good going into Villa,” Pardew said.
“We’ve got Cheik (Tiote) back, plus most of our French players have been working hard, so we’re close to having a fully fit squad.
“A lot of our internationals stayed behind, so we’ve been able to work.”
Newcastle took four points from their first three Premier League games, and also beat Morecambe to book a third-round Capital One Cup tie against Leeds United.
“We’ve had a good start,” added Pardew, who came under renewed fire from supporters after the opening defeat to Manchester City.
“If you had offered me what we have now considering we played Manchester City in the first game (a 4-0 defeat), I’d have probably taken it.”
Pardew is also relieved that the distraction of the transfer window is behind him, with midfielder Yohan Cabaye remaining at United until January at least, when the transfer window reopens.
“We’ve had the transfer window, and two international breaks too,” he said.
“We knew we would have our own disruption in the transfer window, but we can settle down now.
“I sensed something would take place (with Cabaye), but we’re now looking forward to the season.”