Steve Bruce will have a few more options up front against Crystal Palace. Both Dwight Gayle and Yoshinori Muto have trained all week and are in contention for the match on Saturday. Although Joelinton has been struggling with a sore thigh, he is expected to make the trip also.
It’s been an unfortunate year so far for Dwight Gayle. He missed the first two and a half months of the campaign with a pesky calf injury picked up in July.
Once fit, Gayle found it hard to get into the team, not making his first start until the Boxing Day defeat at Manchester United. The 29-year-old was handed a second start at Wolves a few weeks later, and he lasted all of 28 minutes before being forced off with his hamstring injury.
It was a massive blow for the poacher but also for Steve Bruce. Gayle looked very sharp at Molineux even chipping in with an assist on Miguel Almiron’s goal.
Gayle is now back and ready to go after his latest injury setback. We don’t think Bruce will pull the trigger just yet and start Gayle at Selhurst Park. However, he could be close to a run in the team.
The Shields Gazette have published some comments Steve Bruce made about a striker he has always rated very highly.
“Has he played a lot week in week out in the Premier League? I don’t think so.
“I think he’s always been in and around the Championship when I’ve seen him. A lot of people said Vardy couldn’t do it, this one couldn’t do it.
“Dwight’s a natural goalscorer. His instincts, his movement, all of it’s a natural goalscorer’s. Left foot or right foot. Natural finisher.
“When I walked through the door, I was delighted he was here. We’ve only seen glimpses. We haven’t seen him enough. He’s a natural goalscorer, without question.”
Dwight was given a good run in the team by Rafa Benitez a few seasons ago. However, he only managed 6 goals in 35 appearances, 23 of which were starts.
While he’s no Jamie Vardy, he is a natural finisher who can contribute with a few goals. If new boys Danny Rose and Valentino Lazaro can get some quality deliveries into the box, the hope is Gayle can get on the end of a few those and put some into the back of the net.
We expect Gayle to make a cameo tomorrow, depending on how the game is unfolding. If he can play like he did for those 30 minutes at Wolves, that would be a boost to this club.
Note: Here’s an update on Ed Harrison in the Chronicle.