After being substituted after only 32 minutes against Aston Villa on Monday night, it is being reported by Lee Ryder of the Chronicle that he will miss a month. He will therefore be forced to sit out key fixtures against Brighton, Huddersfield and Reading, and may also miss the home tie against Fulham.
The former Crystal Palace man had only returned from the same hamstring injury after a month on the sidelines, so it is a massive setback for him.
In fact, this is the fourth time within 16 months that Gayle has had trouble with his hamstring, which is a very worrying factor indeed. The last thing the club needs is for this to be a reoccurring issue.
What this does represent is a huge chance for one Aleksandar Mitrović. The Serbian international has been the subject of speculation as of late, mainly due to the fact that he has only started 11 games this season. Aside from a hot-streak before Christmas, when he bagged four goals in two games against Preston, it has been a very frustrating campaign for the 21 year old. He is now in line for a run in the side and will be relied upon to help the push for promotion.
While Gayle should return for the “crucial” month of April, as said by Benitez himself, this is a genuine chance for Aleksandar to really cement himself at Newcastle United.
In other news this week, and good news at that, Rolando Aarons has returned to first team training and is scheduled for an early return in April, which could prove to be a massive boost for the club and the player.