Newcastle United's lack of creativity was highlighted as Steve Bruce's side whimpered to a 1-0 defeat at Turf Moor.

Injuries to Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Jonjo Shelvey meant that United's were without it's most creative trio - and it showed.

United failed to have a shot on target throughout the game with Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle going closest with efforts that went wide of the goal.

In this week's Everything is Black & White Podcast , host Andrew Musgrove is joined by Mark Douglas, and special guest Chris Waugh of the Athletic to discuss the key points of the week.

What does January hold for Dwight Gayle?

West Brom are likely to come back in for Dwight Gayle next month with sources in the Midlands suggesting that they are ready to test United's resolve for the striker.

Gayle enjoyed a successful season at the Hawthorns last season, scoring 23 goals as the Baggies missed out on promotion.

Bruce is a big fan of Gayle - and regularly mentions the fact he tried to buy him three times throughout his career, as well as admitting frustration that injury cost the striker a large chunk of this season.

But now fully fit, Gayle has yet to convince Bruce to start him in place of the misfiring Joelinton - and even if he did, a total reshuffle and reshape will be needed to accommodate him.

That then leaves you with the possibility that United may sell Gayle next month, as Mark Douglas ponders: "He’s got to be frustrated because he played all that football last season, and he’s seen it in scraps this year.

"I know they keep saying we don’t want to sell him but you know, I’m pretty sure that if somebody comes in with a bid in January, they might accept - which I think for all parties would be the best solution."

 

But if United sell Gayle, will the bring anyone in?

In an ideal world - Gayle going would see someone coming straight in to replace him.

Actually, in an ideal world - United would get a new striker in this January regardless of what happens to Gayle.

But following Lee Charnley's exclusive chat with Lee Ryder earlier this month - the suggestion is that United aren't actively looking for any new signings in January.

Selling Gayle, at 29, should someone come in with a bid of £15m-£20m wouldn't be the worst bit of business but as Chris Waugh ponders, will United reinvest the money?

"I think [it would be the right move] that as long as they use whatever money they might get.

"That's the problem I've got it.

"I think it will be the best solution for all parties as long Newcastle get £15m or whatever it is and then reinvest it into a new forward because clearly they need another one.

"They can't sell him and not go and get another, because they haven't got the depth now - they're already struggling for that depth.

"Look at all the forwards this season, if you want to call them that - all seven of them have scored two goals all season.

"They are lacking goals and they need to bring someone who's going to score them - they're almost damned if they do damned if they don't with Gayle."

But if NUFC need a goalscorer - then surely it's time for Gayle?

It's a fair comment - United need goals, and Gayle has that talent.

But he's never been the most prolific of strikers in the top flight, and more pressing is how would Gayle fit into Bruce's XI?

He's not the tall player that fits into the lone striker role - he needs to run off a number 10 to be most effective.

Chris Waugh asks just how do United accommodate Gayle? " I think Bruce ideally would like to try and get Gayle into the team somewhere but he knows that you'd have to change the setup completely.

"You saw that even when he came on at the weekend against Burnley, with the current formation that they play and how deep they are - the way that they get the ball forward very quickly, but not in terms of in and behind defences -  I just don't see where Gayle fits in ."

Away from Gayle - United are lacking a 'plan B', aren't they?

With Allan Saint-Maximim out for the next few games, United have lost their talisman.

Bruce replaced ASM with Christian Atsu and also shifted Joelinton out to the wing but it didn't work.

Mark Douglas wants to see a plan B implemented under Bruce: "They're going to need a better plan B without Allan Saint-Maximum then they've got at the moment.

"Saturday for me. I'm not an optimist. I'm not optimistic about Newcastle United this season full stop because of how things are but I'm looking at that game and thinking they really need to work hard this week to come up with an alternative to ASM's abscence.

"They need to find a different way of playing because it's worked so far but they're so reliant on him, and and what he brings to the room.

"Really without him you saw that the front four didn't really work."