Newcastle dealt major blow as Benitez confirms key man will miss next two games
By Matt Farr
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has confirmed that Dwight Gayle is set to miss their next two Championship outings.
Gayle, 26, picked up a third hamstring injury of the season in the defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, and Benitez revealed he will not be available for their upcoming clash with promotion rivals Leeds.
As quoted by Chronicle reporter Mark Douglas on his personal Twitter account, Benitez said on Thursday: “We have to be careful. It’s not a big issue. Won’t play v Leeds or Ipswich though.”
Rafa on Gayle: 'We have to be careful. It's not a big issue.' Won't play v Leeds or Ipswich though.
— Mark Douglas (@MsiDouglas) April 13, 2017
The news will come as a devastating blow to Newcastle fans, who will see their side enter the most crucial part of their season without their lead goalscorer.
Gayle has scored 22 league goals for the club this season, but the goalscoring burden is expected to fall on the shoulders of either Aleksandar Mitrovic or Daryl Murphy against Leeds on Friday.
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The former Premier League striker had first been sidelined for six games with a hamstring injury in January, suffering the injury in a win over Brentford.
But just 47 minutes into his comeback, he suffered a recurrence, and was subsequently ruled out a further two matches.
He managed seven appearances during his latest return, however, and will now be out of contention until the clash with Preston on April 24 at the earliest.
In other Newcastle team news, Jamaal Lascelles and Isaac Hayden are omitted as Football Insider names a best combined Newcastle and Leeds XI.