By Matt Farr
Former Newcastle forward Micky Quinn has claimed that Yoan Gouffran and Mo Diame cannot play together.
The two Newcastle stars have been regular features within Rafa Benitez’s first-team squad this season, and were handed the attacking responsibilities in the absence of Dwight Gayle against Brighton on Tuesday.
However, Quinn has urged the Newcastle chief to make a change that would see the pair split up when the club take on promotion rivals Huddersfield at the weekend.
“For me, Yoan Gouffran and Mo Diame just do not work as a partnership,” he wrote in his column for the Chronicle on Thursday.
“By all means play one or the other at the John Smith’s Stadium – though Ayoze Perez put his hand up for a start with his excellently-taken winner at the Amex – but they can’t start up front together.
“The problem with Gouffran and Diame in those two positions is that neither appears overly comfortable with their back to goal. They don’t hold it up and link play well enough.”
Newcastle main goalscorer Gayle has been out with a hamstring injury in recent weeks, but if the hitman is not deemed fit to face Huddersfield, Quinn insists that Newcastle must turn to either Aleksandar Mitrovic or Daryl Murphy.
Once Gayle is back in contention, however, the club are not likely to be required to field either Gouffran or Diame in a centre-forward role, so Quinn’s concerns may only be in the short-term.
The pair are, however, fairly evenly-matched in terms of the contributions in the final third for Newcastle this season. Diame has contributed six goals and two assists from 30 appearances, while Gouffran has seven goals and five assists from 35 matches.
Newcastle can potentially extend their lead at the top of the Championship to five points with a win over Huddersfield on Saturday.
Defeat, on the other hand, could allow rivals Brighton to regain top spot, whilst putting an end to the Magpies’ nine-match unbeaten run.
In other Newcastle news, this is how Newcastle are expected to line-up against Huddersfield on Saturday.