Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Great to Be on the Up Again - but Gayle's Loss Remains a Real Downer

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Great to Be on the Up Again - but Gayle's Loss Remains a Real Downer

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHNGIBSON

THE Championship royalty of Newcastle are very much like the Grand Old Duke of York.

When they are up they are up but when they are down they are down.

Now we hope they are well and truly on the up again, taking advantage of a rare Brighton blip to go top of the heap, winning a Cup cruise against Birmingham and next at home to basement stragglers Rotherham on the merry morn.

It should be a stroll down a leafy country lane but yes we can recall United's second-tier aristocrats succumbing to relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers not once but twice.

Nevertheless, we will walk with belief on match day because that is something Geordies do well.

Give them a reason to be optimistic and they will grasp it, enthusiastically lauding their warriors about to do battle.

However, injuries have gnawed at the foundations of the team to bring a tad of concern.

Dwight Gayle's hamstring is a definite blow coming as it does straight after the long absence of United's other irreplaceable player Jonjo Shelvey.

I have banged on about what would happen if Shelvey or Gayle were withdrawn from action because of the lack of obvious cover and now we are about to find out who is capable of taking over the mantle of regular goal plunderer.

The hope is a 34-year-old, Daryl Murphy, can rise to the challenge after his two goals on his much-delayed introduction to the Toon Army.

Gayle a class it comes and He's go-to John We had almost forgotten he was here. Or maybe even Yoan Gouffran, who believes he is a central striker and struck in midweek when given a rare chance to prove it.

Regardless, Gayle remains a class apart when it comes to goals and movement. He is United's go-to guy.

Where some strikers cannot hit a barn door at half a dozen paces, Gayle can slot through the eye of a needle.

He will almost certainly still be the division's top marksman when he returns, his 20 league goals a whopping five better than the chasing pack led by Brighton's Glenn Murray. …

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