Dwight Gayle reacts to his superb hat-trick for Newcastle

Rafa Bentiez and Dwight Gayle

Rafa Bentiez and Dwight Gayle

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Dwight Gayle told of his joy after firing Newcastle United back to the top of the Championship.

The striker scored a hat-trick in this afternoon's 4-0 win over Birmingham City at St James's Park.

Yoan Gouffran also netted for Rafa Benitez's side, who lead second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion by one point.

Gayle's second hat-trick for the club took his goal tally for the season to 16.

"Scoring is the best thing for me, and to be helping the team pick up three points again, and go back to the top of the table, is great for us," said the 26-year-old.

"It's nice to be at the top of the table, but we've got to continue and the main thing at the end of the season is to get promotion."

On his pre-season goal target, Gayle added: "I set myself a target of 20 at the start of the season, and I'll just keep working hard and helping the team."

The victory ended a run of three successive defeats for United.

"Last week wasn't the best results, but I thought we played well and perhaps could were unlucky not to pick up some points," said Gayle, signed from Crystal Palace in the summer.

"We showed today how good we can be when we're on our game."