It’s been a long week for Dwight Gayle and his Newcastle United team-mates.
Rafa Benitez’s players have had seven days to dwell on their season-opening defeat to Fulham.
After Friday night’s result, the boys were frustrated. The Huddersfield game was eight days away and we’ve wanted to make up for it.Dwight Gayle
And they’ve been seven long days.
For Gayle, the club’s new No 9, tomorrow’s home game against Huddersfield Town can’t come quick enough.
The fixture is heading for a sell-out.
And there will be 500 flags at one end of the stadium for kick-off thanks to the Gallowgate Flags group.
Gayle, signed from Crystal Palace for £10million last month, is relishing the occasion.
The 25-year-old just hopes Benitez’s team can play to their potential and do the off-pitch fervour justice on the field in the first home game of the new Championship season.
“After Friday night’s result, the boys were frustrated,” said Gayle.
“The Huddersfield game was eight days away and we’ve wanted to make up for it.
“It’s been a long few days training. Obviously all the boys are raring to go for Saturday to give something back to the fans.”
Newcastle, backed by a 7,000-strong travelling support, were beaten 1-0 at Craven Cottage.
Matt Smith scored the only goal of the game – a header from a corner – before the break.
United had earlier had a strong penalty appeal waved away, and Gayle felt the afternoon would have turned out very differently had referee Simon Hooper penalised Ryan Tunnicliffe for handling Matt Ritchie’s early cross.
“We didn’t create as much as we would have liked,” said Gayle.
“I thought we controlled the game. We conceded from a set-piece and were unlucky not to get a couple of penalty shouts.
“Had the first one gone our way, we could have grown in confidence and gone on to win 2-0 or 3-0.
“There was a bit of anxiety in the performance.
“It didn’t go as well as we wanted it to, but hopefully we can make up for it this Saturday and get the three points.”
Gayle – who started his senior career at Stansted after being released by Arsenal’s academy – scored on his first appearance at St James’s Park as a Newcastle player.
The Londoner netted in a 3-2 friendly win over Vitesse Arnhem late last month, and he is looking forward to playing his first competitive game at the stadium.
“Obviously, it’s a great achievement for me to be playing at a club like this, and to see the 7,000 fans travelling that far was great for the team,” said Gayle.
“Having them behind us is going to be great for us.
“We’re going to need to keep them onside, and we can do that by putting in performances at home and showing them a good game on Saturday.”
Benitez has backed the Gallowgate Flags initiative, which raised more than £5,000.
And Gayle is relishing the atmosphere, though he knows he and his colleagues must focus on Bentiez’s gameplan for Huddersfield, who beat Brentford 2-1 last weekend.
“It’s going to be a fantastic day on Saturday – a 52,000-sell out,” said Gayle, who is targeting a 20-goal haul this season.
“It’ll be an amazing day, but it’ll only be a good day if we win.
“We need to try and take that out of our minds and try and just focus on what we’ve been told and the tactics – every and every one of us.”