When Dwight Gayle didn’t make the trip to Rochdale last Saturday, we had assumed it was to not cup-tie him in the hopes that Newcastle could keep his value as high as possible.
That turned out not to be the case. Gayle suffered a knock in training that forced him to be unavailable for the FA Cup.
Bruce has always maintained that he rates the 29-year-old highly. However, Bruce has yet to give Dwight a run of games since he returned from his calf problem in October.
Gayle has played just 150 minutes of football over 8 appearances. With only one of those being starts.
There have been rumblings of late that he’s looking for an exit this window.
However, Newcastle have set a staggering price on the poacher wanting as much as £20m. That is a bridge too far for any Championship club hoping to bring Dwight in this month.
The Shields Gazette have published some of Steve Bruce’s comments about Dwight’s situation at Newcastle. Here are some of those comments:
“I can see a role for Dwight. I’ve always liked him. Unfortunately, he got injured.
“Whatever happened to him in the past, he hasn’t felt part of the picture, but I started him against Manchester United (on Boxing Day).
“He was stiff afterwards because it was his first game for months, but he’s available for the Wolves game. Let’s see what that brings.
“He’s a very good player – and a vital part of the squad. I understand he might be (frustrated).
“I wouldn’t expect any different – I’d be the same. If you don’t play, you’re not happy.”
Bruce’s comments, coupled with the high valuation, lead us to believe that Newcastle want to hang onto Gayle this window. It could be that they don’t have much faith in getting in another striker this window.
That would be a precarious proposition for Newcastle, who average less than a goal a game. While Gayle is still shaking off the rust from not playing much this season, he’s missed two supreme chances that could have made all the difference for Newcastle.
We’ll see if Gayle gets in from the start against Wolves today. Maybe playing Andy Carroll and Dwight in the classic big striker/little striker partnership can pay some dividends.
It will be telling if Gayle is still left out today. After Joelinton’s performance at Rochdale, it may be the time to allow him to take a step away and watch a couple of matches from the sideline.
That would also allow Dwight a run of games if he can stay fit. Maybe if he can find his rhythm, he can also find the back of the net.