Steve Bruce should let bygones be bygones and reintroduce Dwight Gayle back into the fold against Wolves on Saturday.
Newcastle, for the most part, have looked decent in their last 145 minutes of football, creating chances and looking threatening going forward.
The second half against Leeds and the whole game against Watford saw us play with purpose, with Allan Saint-Maximin the focal point and looking to make things happen in the final third.
Creating chances hasn’t actually been our problem this season; in Callum Wilson’s absence due to injury – taking them has.
Dwight Gayle is the only other striker available right now and spent most of the campaign so far sat on the substitutes bench. Against Leeds in particular, it was infuriating to watch a Toon side look so toothless in front of goal when we had a recognised goal scorer on the bench.
Reports of a rift between Graeme Jones and Dwight circulated in the Daily Mail a few weeks ago but we are all grown men here and really need to think about the bigger picture – our first Premier League victory.
Newcastle need goals and, although his top flight record is nowhere near as deadly as his goal return in the second tier, he is the best we have right now.
After all, Bruce often talks him up, constantly reminding us that he’s tried to sign him on several occasions in the past, yet very rarely starts him – even when Wilson is out.
Saint-Maximin, while he has been sublime once again this season, is receiving the ball and finding himself having to run 30/40 yards into space, with no black-and-white shirt ahead of him.
Putting him back on the left flank – his best position – will allow him to use that electric pace to hurt the opposition and return to the role of creator rather than goalscorer.
One player who has looked like a square peg in a round whole as of late is Miggy Almiron. The Paraguayan can look ineffective on that wide right berth; he struggles to get into the game and, because he is so left-footed dominant, can look predictable too.
His best football on Tyneside has been from a central position, with Graeme Jones’ input seeing him deployed in a number 10 role behind two wide strikers in a 4-3-1-2.
With Gayle upfront in my side, he can still operate in that role, allowing both Almiron and ASM to play in their preferred positions.
Bruce reverted to a back four against Watford and it worked well, with Hayden adding balance from a defensive midfield position and preventing us from being overrun in midfield.
The form of Sean Longstaff and the width that Jacob Murphy brings to the side means the fall guys will be Joelinton and Joe Willock, with neither getting off to the best of starts this season.
Many Toon fans feel Joelinton has played well in recent weeks but I’m not having it. I would go as far as to drop him from this weekend’s clash as he is simply just not productive enough in the final third.
The back four and goalkeeper picks itself; a solid display at the weekend was undone by a set-piece but I would keep things the same again at the weekend.
Charlie’s NUFC side: Darlow – Manquillo, Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie – Hayden, Longstaff – Murphy, Almiron, Saint-Maximin – Gayle