Isaac Hayden says Newcastle United’s players must step up – and fill Dwight Gayle’s goalscoring boots.
The in-form striker will miss tomorrow evening’s home game against second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion with concussion.
It’s not the news everyone wanted to hear, but it’s the rules. With the concussion rules, they can’t play, but we’ve got a big squad and there are players who can come in and do a job.Isaac Hayden
Aleksandar Mitrovic will also have to sit out the Championship game for the same reason due to FA guidelines.
Gayle and Mitrovic suffered blows to the head during Wednesday night’s 2-0 EFL Cup win over Cheltenham Town at St James’s Park.
Mitrovic was making his first appearance after serving a four-game ban.
Both attempted to play on – Gayle wore a bandage – but were quickly taken off by Rafa Benitez as a precaution.
After an assessment by Paul Catterson, Newcastle’s head of sports medicine and science, Gayle and Mitrovic were ruled out of the Brighton game.
Midfielder Isaac Hayden – who scored on his last home appearance – feels there are enough goals in the team to cope without Gayle and Mitrovic.
Forward Ayoze Perez is likely to lead the line, having netted both goals against Cheltenham.
“It’s not the news everyone wanted to hear, but it’s the rules,” said summer signing Hayden, who yesterday received his first England Under-21 call-up.
“With the concussion rules, they can’t play, but we’ve got a big squad and there are players who can come in and do a job.
“For me, I’m still confident going into the Brighton game.
“Dwight’s on a hot streak, and long may that continue.
“But I think there are goals all around the team. I don’t think we can rely on just Dwight this season.
“Mitro’s come back, and he’s going to start scoring. We’ve got Ayo, who can score goals.
“We’ve got players all around the team that can score.
“For me, it’s about the other lads contributing now, and with Dwight and Mitro not being able to play, it’s about them taking the opportunity.”
Hayden, having scored only his second senior goal in the club’s 4-1 win over Reading last week, is keen to add more goals to his game this season.
However, Hayden knows his opportunities will be limited given that he has been used as a defensive midfielder so far by Benitez.
“In my senior career I only got one before that goal,” said the 21-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Hull City from Arsenal.
“For me, it depends on the role the manager wants me to play.
“If he wants me to get forward more, I think I’ve got the ability to score goals.
“I worked a lot last year, especially in training, on finishing because of that.
“It just depends on the role.
“If the manager wants me to play a bit deeper, then I’m obviously not going to get into those positions.
“For me, it’s definitely something I can add to my game. If I can, I’ll be a better player.”
Meanwhile, Gayle and Mitrovic will be back for United after the impending international break.
Catterson said: “The treatment and management of concussion in sport has received deserved attention in recent years.
“We have to adhere to the guidelines set out by the FA in line with other competitive sports, which rightly puts the safety and health of players first.”
The FA issued new concussion guidelines to clubs last year following a series of incidents.