Gayle fires Crystal Palace's cup hopes and competition for places

Hat-trick hero: Dwight Gayle's appearances this season have been limited to coming off the bench, so his hat-trick against Walsall on Tuesday night in his first start has turned heads                SP81807

Hat-trick hero: Dwight Gayle's appearances this season have been limited to coming off the bench, so his hat-trick against Walsall on Tuesday night in his first start has turned heads SP81807

First published in Sport Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

Dwight Gayle's first half hat-trick not only sent Crystal Palace into the third round of the Capital One Cup last night, but caretaker manager Keith Millen believes it also sent a message to the rest of his underperforming squad.

Millen made nine changes to the side that lost 3-1 at home to West Ham United in the Premier League on Saturday, with only Damian Delaney and Barry Bannan keeping their places.

Walsall were blown away by three first-half strikes from Gayle, making his first start of the season, leaving Millen with a possible selection quandary.

He said: "We have not let ourselves down the last couple of games in the Premier League, but we've not performed like we can.

"This performance tonight will give a bit of a gee up to the first team players and they know there's some competition there."

He added: "My mindset is now to move on to Newcastle. I enjoy being in charge of the players - I enjoy making decisions and they are a good group to work with."

 

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