Dwight Gayle was not right when he played for about 30 minutes at home to Aston Villa on 20 February (15 days ago) and it seems he didn’t think his hamstring was quite right.
During that game he has complained of it feeling tight so as a caution Newcastle took him off to ensure no further damage was caused.
Scan before and after the game showed there was no damage to the hamstring and that in itself must have helped settle the striker in his own mind that he was OK.
Yoan Gouffran and Dwight Gayle after Dwight scored on Saturday
He has 21 goals now after scoring at Huddersfield late in the game on Saturday and he is one goal behind Chris Wood of Leeds.
But Gayle has scored a goal every 87 minutes of playing time compared to 124 minutes for Chris.
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has said this in the Chronicle today when asked if the Newcastle number 9 is motivated by the desire to win the Golden Boot.
“He has to be because it’s not easy to be top scorer in any division.”
“When you have an opportunity, for everyone, especially for a striker, it’s a very good target.”
“I think he’s quite happy with the challenge and hopefully he can score more goals than Wood.”
“Yes, I think he’s fine mentally.”
“He was training and physically he was getting better, but still he would need some time. But he’s fine.”
“If I am asking him now, he would say: ‘Yes, I am ready to play.’”
“Then we have to decide because we have to watch him every training session and monitor him carefully.”
“But in his head, I’m sure that he’s ready.”
Rafa is thinking about starting Dwight tonight at Reading, although we have a feeling that Daryl Murphy will again start the game.
It’s another game we have to win.