Dwight Gayle started the opening two matches of the season but has been restricted to the final 12 minutes of each of the last two games, the wins over Swansea and Stoke.
So clearly there are no injury issues keeping him out of the team, more a case of Joselu doing a decent job combined with doubts as to whether Dwight Gayle is fully wound up and at full fitness.
Joselu’s overall game was still good against Stoke City and if he had taken one or two of the glorious chances that came his way, there would surely be little doubt he’d be starting on Sunday.
However, he failed with the three sitters that came his way and hearing what Rafa Benitez has had to say, it may now be in the balance as to who will be the centre-forward against Chris Hughton’s side.
Talking about the number nine, Rafa says that Dwight Gayle ‘was at the top of the graphic’ in training this week, the manager referring to ‘in terms of effort’.
The United boss saying the forward had impressed with his ‘overall work, what he was giving to the team, his contribution, and after that – the chances’.
It isn’t a case of writing Joselu off and more the likelihood that at least until the January window, Rafa Benitez is very likely to be switching between Joselu and Dwight Gayle, depending on the opposition and more importantly, how sharp they are looking in training.
With 23 goals despite only 26 Championship starts last season, Dwight Gayle showed he is a very good finisher, something that Joselu’s record (never scored 10 goals in a league season apart from the Spanish third tier) shows isn’t his biggest strength.
It would be great to have Gayle back at full fitness because his pace/sharpness will cause problems in the Premier League and he will take chances if they come his way – he is no Alan Shearer but I don’t think there’s any way he would have missed all three that Joselu did against Stoke.
Rafa needs far more than 11 players this season if Newcastle are to do well and Dwight Gayle can still be a key figure in that.
“The offensive were doing finishing; Mitro, Dwight Gayle, and Joselu.
“The players know when another one is doing well, they have to wait and they have to compete and be ready.
“Tha is the main thing for me, it is part of the mentality of a good professional, to understand his job and carry on doing what he has to do.
“Dwight Gayle will be pushing me (for selection at Brighton) and he’s doing well.
“I was talking to a couple of players about the training sessions and Dwight Gayle was in a very good position in terms of effort, he was at the top of the graphic.
“We were talking about the chances that he (Gayle) had and the work that he did – sometimes you can analyse and you can have an opinion about strikers depending on the chances that they have and they take or not….
“But in this case, we were talking about his overall work, what he was giving to the team, his contribution, and after that – the chances.”