How does Dwight Gayle's start at Newcastle compare to other Magpies' heroes?

Dwight Gayle.

Dwight Gayle.

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Dwight Gayle’s goals have set Newcastle on course for promotion, with his Barnsley double last week taking United to the top of the Championship.

But how does the flying start made by the £10 million signing compare with the initial impact of previous Magpie strike heroes?

Andy Cole’s explosive emergence at St James’ Park in 1993? The Alan Shearer effect after his £15 million arrival in 1996? Are they and other Newcastle legends being blown away by Dwight’s Gayle-force start?

Here, we reveal where Gayle’s goals leave him in the list of the Magpies’ fastest-starting modern-day strikers.

Les Ferdinand: 15 goals in first 12 NUFC games - 1.25 goals per game.

"Sir Les" was ennobled almost from the start of his Newcastle career thanks to a white-hot start in front of goal.

Ferdinand scored in 10 of the Magpies' 12 opening games of the memorable 1995-96 season following his arrival from QPR.

Off the mark in an opening day victory over Coventry - one of 11 wins in those first 12 games - he scored twice against each of Bolton, Manchester City and Chelsea.

And a hat-trick against Wimbledon completed a record-breaking haul of 15 in a first dozen appearances for the spring-heeled No 9.

Andy Cole: 12 goals in first 12 NUFC games (inc 1 sub appearance) - 1 goals per game

Andy “Goal” scored 12 times in his first 11 appearances in a Newcastle shirt to help clinch promotion in 1992-93.

The then club record £1.75 million signing found the net minutes after being introduced as a substitute on debut against Notts County, and grabbed two hat-tricks before the close of the campaign.

It took Cole until Newcastle’s third game in the Premiership to find the net – although an equaliser at Old Trafford would mark the start of a record-breaking 41-goal season.

Dwight Gayle: 11 goals in first 12 NUFC games - 0.92 goals per game

Gayle’s super start to life on Tyneside has sent him top of the Championship scoring charts with 11 goals in 12 league games.

One poacher’s goal and a sublime finish at Barnsley last Tuesday sent Newcastle top of the table.

Throw in his memorable hat-trick against promotion rivals Norwich – including a heart-stopping last-gasp winner – and Gayle has already paid off a huge chunk of his supposedly lofty £10 million price tag.

Mick Quinn: 9 goals in first 12 NUFC games - 0.75 goals per game

Quinn’s immediate impact in a Newcastle shirt was devastating – four goals in a 5-2 home win over Leeds on day one of the 1989-90 Division Two season softening the blow of relegation.

Five goals in his next four games, including a double against Oldham at St James’ Park, maintained the former Portsmouth striker’s momentum.

But Quinn found the net just once in his next seven outings.

Kevin Keegan: 8 goals in first 12 NUFC games – 0.66 goals per game

Having scored memorably on debut at St James’ Park against QPR on the opening day of the 1982-83 season, Keegan also found the net in his next two outings.

And after a subsequent four-game goal drought, KK exploded back to life with four of Newcastle’s five goals in a rout of Rotherham in early October.

Having scored eight in his first dozen games, Keegan ended that season with 21 goals – one behind Imre Varadi.

Alan Shearer: 7 goals in first 12 NUFC games - 0.58 goals per game

Although he went on to break Newcastle’s all-time scoring record, Shearer’s early goal haul for his hometown club was solid rather than spectacular.

After firing home last on in a victory against Wimbledon on his home debut, Shearer managed six more goals in his next 10 games.

Initially, Les Ferdinand was the more prolific half of a fearsome strike partnership, scoring nine in his opening dozen outings that season.