By Dominic Toner
Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom believes that Newcastle’s Dwight Gayle is still similar to his time in non-league football.
The forward scored a brace on Tuesday in the Championship, as the Magpies beat Barnsley 2-0 at Oakwell to make it four consecutive league victories.
Newcastle are at the top of the Championship table and a point ahead of second-placed Norwich, as they continue their attempt at an automatic return to the top-flight.
Gayle, 25, has been in phenomenal form this season and scored 11 goals in 12 matches across all competitions.
He spent a season at non-league side Bishop’s Stortford during the early stages of his career and the Barnsley boss thinks there are still similarities in the way he plays.
“I remember playing against Dwight when he was at Bishop’s Stortford, and he was a hard player to contain,” Heckingbottom told the Chronicle. “I can’t remember whether I played centre-half or left-back against him, but I can remember he was quiet for most of that game and still ended up scoring two goals too.
“He was good [on Tuesday], but that’s what you pay for isn’t it? His goals. We were prepared for that, so from our point of view, it’s disappointing that two lapses of concentration cost us the game.”
Gayle sprung into action against Barnsley on two occasion to net decisive goals, first reacting quickest in the box to a scramble from a corner, before bursting through the defence and knocking the ball over the goalkeeper.
Gayle moved to St James’ Park in the summer and become Rafael Benitez’s first-choice attacker.
The striker had a strong record at his former club Crystal Palace, scoring 25 goals in 74 appearances.
He has since improved his goal scoring record since his arrival at Newcastle and continues to be the club’s talisman.
In other Newcastle news, a Sky pundit has made an astonishing claim about the club’s player.