Chronicle columnist John Gibson has questioned whether or not Dwight Gayle is actually the man to help ease Newcastle United’s current goalscoring slump.
The 29-year-old hitman has been limited for game time this season due to injury, but is now back in Steve Bruce’s squad and ready to contribute.
Writing in a piece for the local outlet, however, Gibson was unconvinced by his actual ability to do so.
He said: “Geordies hoping that somehow a Gayle will blow away the opposition or that a Christmas Carroll will bring seasonal joy before January’s transfer window provides yet another opportunity to buy goals and not waste good money.
“That is what the faithful have been reduced to these sorrowful days. Blind hope.
“Gayle has been spotted in Magpie garb this season about as often as a dodo in Jesmond Dene’s undergrowth. He hasn’t started pre-season or in earnest and has registered only around 10 minutes as a sub. Hardly geared to making him razor sharp and ready to slay those who dare stand in his way.
“Yet what are the alternatives for Steve Bruce? A prayer mat?”
As per usual, Gibson has hit on the crux of the issue with a perceptive and damning verdict on the woes facing Newcastle United at the moment. There’s a fine line between pessimism and realism sometimes, but at the moment, with the Magpies’ barren performances in front of goal becoming a real issue, it’s important to face up to the facts. Gayle is a fine striker, there’s no doubt about that, and his 24 goals in the Championship last season nearly fired West Brom to promotion, but he is still yet to properly turn it on in the top flight, and his total of 21 goals in 101 appearances, as per the Premier League, is hardly the stuff of miracles. The Toon Army need a goalscorer, and Gayle could yet be that man, but given his past record in the top division, it does seem foolish to expect some kind of drastic upturn in his output.