Rafa Benitez reveals whether Dwight Gayle is fit enough to start against Huddersfield

Rafa Benitez says Dwight Gayle has been looking 'sharp' in training ahead of Newcastle United's visit to the John Smith's Stadium.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 4th March 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:55 am
Newcastle United's Dwight Gayle and Rafa Benitez.
Newcastle United's Dwight Gayle and Rafa Benitez.

Gayle is back in Benitez’s squad after recovering from the hamstring problem which saw him miss the club’s last two games.

And Benitez is considering handing the 20-goal striker a start against Huddersfield Town this evening.

Asked if Gayle was fit enough to start, United’s manager said: “He’s fine.

“He can (start), but he has been some days without training.

“But the last three days he was training with the team.

“His reaction the other day was fine. You could see that he was quite sharp. We will see.”

Championship leaders Newcastle haven’t lost a league game since Gayle suffered his original hamstring injury against Brentford in mid-January.

“We have won a lot of games without him,” said Benitez, who fielded Yoan Gouffran up front against Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday night.

“But he is the top scorer in the league and in our team, and is someone who has different qualities and movements to the other strikers.

“Hopefully, he will be available for the rest of the season.

“If you have someone where you know if you can create one or two chances, he can take one or two, that always makes it easier for the other players.”

Benitez has a near-fully fit squad for the Huddersfield game.

“(Isaac) Hayden and Rolando Aarons are out, but the others are available,” said Benitez.