Steve Bruce drops striker hint at Newcastle United

Steve Bruce is backing Dwight Gayle to pick up where he left off last season – as he assesses the transfer market.

Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 9:54 am

Gayle hit form last season after the Premier League’s restart last season. The striker – who had overcome two injuries – scored four goals as the club secured a 13th-placed finish.

Bruce’s side had struggled for goals earlier in the campaign when the form of No.9 Joelinton had come under intense scrutiny.

Joelinton, signed for £40million from Hoffenheim last summer, was kept out of the starting XI by Gayle late in the season.

There are hopes that Bruce will sign another striker in this summer’s transfer window to compete with Joelinton and Gayle, who is expected to see out the final year of his contract at St James's Park.

Gayle, however, could be handed a big role up front this season.

Asked if he was looking at strengthening up front, Bruce said: “I’ve got to look at all areas of the squad.

“I was really impressed with Dwight at the end of the season, the way he finished. He had four in seven games when he was getting a bit fit. He’s come back and burst on to the scene. He’s looking in tip-top shape. He had two bad injuries last year.

Dwight Gayle.

“I know it’s a pivotal part of Newcastle’s folklore. If we can improve in any position, then I’ll try, but certainly the forward areas are always the most mouth-watering ones, and the ones which get reported on.”

Gayle spent the season before last on loan at West Bromwich Albion, who have again been linked with the 29-year-old this summer.

Meanwhile, midfielder Jeff Hendrick is set to join Newcastle on a free transfer after leaving Burnley this summer.

"With Nabil (Bentaleb) going back (to Schalke 04), and the sort of money that Nabil was going to be at, I thought maybe Jeff Hendrick was a better bet with his experience and know-how in the Premier League,” said Bruce last week.

The club, which takes on Crewe Alexandra in a friendly at its York training base this afternoon, has already signed goalkeeper Mark Gillespie, who was also a free agent.