By Wayne Veysey

27th Feb, 2017 | 1:24pm

Major Newcastle blow as key man ruled out of showdown against Brighton

By Harry Sykes

Dwight Gayle has been ruled out of Newcastle’s top-of-the-table showdown against Brighton on Tuesday night.

The Magpies’ top scorer is not ready to return after suffering a hamstring injury in the team’s 2-0 win against Aston Villa seven days ago.

Manager Rafael Benitez revealed on Monday afternoon, as quoted by Newcastle’s official Twitter account, that Gayle has not recovered in time for the titanic trip to the AMEX Stadium.

The loss of Gayle for the clash against the Championship leaders is a major blow for Newcastle given his excellent goal return this season.

The 26-year-old is the equal top scorer in the division with a tally of 20, which is the same as Leeds’ in-form spearhead Chris Wood.

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Benitez revealed in the aftermath of the win against Villa that Gayle had suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury that recently sidelined him for a month.

The Newcastle manager has stopped short of giving a time frame on the player’s recovery but injuries of such a nature usually lead to at least three weeks on the sidelines.

Gayle first broke down on 14 January with a hamstring problem sustained in Newcastle’s 2-1 win at Brentford.

He returned as a second-half substitute in the team 2-2 draw against Norwich 13 days ago before being named in the line-up against Villa.

Gayle was replaced by Aleksandar Mitrovic against Villa, and the Serbian could once again led the line in Saturday’s 2-2 home draw against Bristol City.

In other Newcastle news, fans have taken to Twitter to react to Henri Lansbury’s display against Villa.

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