Dwight Gayle’s confident he can bring 20 goals to Newcastle United this season – with a little more help from Jonjo Shelvey.
Gayle took his goal tally for the season to nine with two strikes in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Brentford.
The main thing for me isn’t even goals. I just want to get promoted and get back up to the Premier League with the club.Dwight Gayle
And the striker, handed the No 9 jersey by Rafa Benitez, is looking to help second-placed Newcastle claim another three points against Barnsley at Oakwell tonight.
Shelvey had a hand in both of Gayle’s goals against Brentford.
The midfielder was United’s man of the match, and Gayle is enjoying playing with the England international.
“Playing with him is fantastic every week,” said Gayle.
“He’s always looking for me. He’s got a fantastic range of passes. That’s fantastic.
“At the beginning of the season, he hadn’t got me an assist. I was constantly getting into his head saying ‘get me an assist, help me out!’.
“The last few weeks he’s been fantastic. He’s been looking for me and picked me out a few times. That’s fantastic.”
On his personal goal target, Gayle added: “Twenty is where you start. I just want to be winning games for the team.
“The main thing for me isn’t even goals.
“I just want to get promoted and get back up to the Premier League with the club.
“We need to score goals to get promoted and I’m happy to help out, but we’ve got great players who are going to chip in as well.”
Benitez proposed a shooting competition between Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic to decide who should take the No 9 jersey this season.
In the end, Mitrovic told Gayle to take the revered shirt.
And Gayle said: “I asked for it. I knew the previous players that wore it. For me, it was a great achievement to get it in the end.
“Obviously, you know the history it’s had and how big a number it is. To play in front of the fans every week is unbelievable.
“Everyone’s behind me and my team-mates have done fantastically with the assists. The quality is fantastic.
“I’m relishing playing with the other boys in the team.”
Gayle has led the line for much of the season and kept Mitrovic, and Daryl Murphy, out of Benitez’s starting XI.
“Perhaps I’m not the biggest or strongest, but the way Rafa’s got us playing is fantastic for me,” said the 25-year-old.
“It works wonderfully. Long may it continue.”
United could go top of the Championship with a win, or even a draw, against Barnsley depending on Norwich City’s result at Fulham.
Gayle, however, insists he and his team-mates are simply focused on the match.
“We try not to think about it,” said Gayle, signed from Crystal Palace in the summer for £10million.
“We don’t listen to the media so much.
“We just try to focus and do our jobs and build that team spirit.”
On the Brentford result, Gayle added: “It was important to get three points after the international break, and I think we came out of the traps really quick. That was important for us.”
Gayle hopes Newcastle can now turn St James’s Park into a fortress.
“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “We know everyone’s coming here to beat us.
“We’ve got to deal with that the best way we can. Perhaps we didn’t do it at the start of the season, but we picked up and we’re on our way now. Hopefully, we can maintain that.”