The move was certainly eyebrow-raising given the fact that the club also boasts the likes of Callum Wilson and Joelinton on their books on top of the ageing striker – but Gayle’s performances are not cited by Howey as to why he should be dropped.
Joelinton netted just his second goal of the season against Spurs in a spirited 2-2 draw at home against Jose Mourinho’s side and perhaps unsurprisingly, Howey is waiting to see whether Joelinton can replicate a spell of scoring form.
Howey’s reasoning was not so much to do with Gayle as it was a consequence of Joelinton’s goal.
Speaking to Football FanCast, Howey explained his reasoning: “You probably have to drop Gayle because of Joelinton’s performance against Tottenham.
“I do think though that if Joelinton reverts back to the performances that we have previously seen, then the manager has to change it again.”
For Bruce to consign Joelinton to the bench would be a brutal snub against a point-winning player, with his scoring exploits sure to intensify a case for more minutes for the Brazilian.
With Newcastle within touching reach of Fulham in the relegation zone, every asset will need to be mustered for the Mags to steer away from the drop.