Sky Sports pundit delivers verdict on Newcastle second-string striker
By Matt Farr
Sky Sports pundit Andy Walker has heaped praise on Newcastle striker Daryl Murphy after his recent impact on the first-team squad.
The 33-year-old striker struggled for first-team opportunities at the start of the season, but has since been handed an opportunity in the absence of injured duo Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Murphy has seized his opportunity with both hands, and has netted goals in each of his last three appearances, giving Rafa Benitez a potential selection dilemma when his two premier goal-scorers return.
The Republic of Ireland international can help Newcastle extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to five games when they take on Oxford in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.
Former Celtic star Andy Walker has been a keen admirer of the Magpies striker since his spell with Celtic between 2010 and 2013, and was full of praise for his recent goalscoring form.
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He told the Newcastle Chronicle: “He is that type of striker who is aggressive, he uses his physique. He’s not the quickest but he is wonderful in the air and good on the ground.
“He had a couple of seasons at Ipswich where he was a recognised goalscorer, and I remember watching him up in Scotland with Celtic and he scored goals there.
“He is the type of player who scores vital goals. Obviously he will want to play more but every opportunity he has had in the last couple of weeks, he has taken and he is making the difference.”
Mitrovic is already back in training for Benitez’s side ahead of their cup clash with Oxford at the weekend, but Gayle is not set to return from his hamstring injury for a little while longer.
Therefore, Murphy can expect to maintain his key role over the next couple of weeks as Newcastle look to continue their push for the Championship title.
In other Newcastle news, the club have reportedly hit a stumbling block in their pursuit of this Premier League winger.