The strength and weakness of Newcastle United’s attacking play was shown on Friday night, as Dwight Gayle scored the two goals that beat Hearts 2-1.

After 23 goals from 26 Championship starts (and six appearances off the bench) last season, it was great to see the number nine straight back into goalscoring form.

However, the Hearts keeper barely had a save to make from any one of the other 21 Newcastle players used last night, though we can excuse Elliot and Woodman…

The bottom line being that last season showed that Newcastle are short of goals when the former Palace man is missing.

The big worry is that with only four weeks until the new season, there is still no new striker in sight, somebody who can ideally play alongside and instead of Gayle if needs be.

After the Hearts game, the striker was questioned by the club’s official TV channel.

The interviewer asking the following question/making the point:

‘Towards the back end of last season you were plagued by that hamstring trouble a little bit. That’s clearly behind you now, it is all in the past?’

In response, Dwight Gayle burst out laughing at the playing down of his injury problems and said:

“I wouldn’t say that. Just seeing how it goes and fingers crossed I can get as many games as possible next season.”

Having had repeated hamstring problems in the last few years at both Crystal Palace and Newcastle, no wonder the striker is so cautious about predicting just how his fitness will go.

Last season, Gayle started 21 of the first 26 Championship matches but then only five of the remaining 20 league games as hamstring problems struck yet again.

Newcastle ended up crawling over the finishing line when at one point they looked like having a stress free promotion season with Dwight Gayle seemingly set to break all kinds of records.

Those final 20 games saw a run at one point of eight matches where in only one of them Newcastle scored more than one goal in a game.

I think for Newcastle to have the best chance of success next season, we need Dwight Gayle to play at least three quarters of the Premier league matches AND bring in at least one other striker of at least the same standard.

Dwight Gayle speaking to NUFC TV:

“As you see again, sold out for away fans, which is crazy for a pre-season game this far away.

“You just want to get your fitness, go into the season fit and healthy, ready to get started.”

‘Towards the back end of last season you were plagued by that hamstring trouble a little bit. That’s clearly behind you now, it is all in the past?’

“(Laughs!) I wouldn’t say that.

“Just seeing how it goes and fingers crossed I can get as many games as possible next season.”

Dwight Gayle talking to the Chronicle:

“I want to play as much as I can but I know the club need to bring in players and we need to improve.

 “It will pull everybody in the right direction – I am all for new signings and I’m looking forward to the season.

 “There may be a bit more running and the boys want to get back to football and playing as much as we can.”

“We now just want to go out there and prove to the fans and the club we are here to play as much of a part as we can.

“We have a great team spirit and the boys are going to Ireland next week, we’ll build on it again.

“The new players are joining in well and we will go for it and see what we can do.”

(Watch the goals from Hearts 1 Newcastle HERE)

(To read what Rafa Benitez had to say after the match go HERE)

(To read the match ratings for all Newcastle players v Hearts go HERE)

(To read what Ian Cathro had to say about the game go HERE)

  • Jimblag23

    I’m also all for new signings, don’t hold your breath though Dwight.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    I like Gayle he has pace & great anticipation but the downside is he’s a Gimp
    missed 20 games in each of the two last seasons through injury.
    we need another striker Asap

  • anyobrien

    Ritchie, Haydon, atsu and shev will all chip in and I do think we will bring in a new striker… KTF

  • Wor Monga

    Fancy asking a player a stupid question like that…any player can put too much stress on a hamstring any time that he stretches it to compete in a game…players
    like Dwight who depend on speed off the mark more than most…so how can you expect him to answer that in order to satisfy you, Jackie?…

    …For your goal scoring concerns though…on that, I’d be more worried for Everton who were ‘glorified’ on here earlier …they’ll be going into next season without Lukaku, and with most of their first team big team star names way past 30…they’re going to need more than an ageing Rooney and a 17 yr old to give them those 26 goals this season!!!

  • Steve Smith

    On a positive note the only way we’ll be playing as many games this season is if we go on a cup run. You would hope Gayle is less likely to get crocked eith fewer games.