ALEKSANDAR Mitrovic insists he loves life at St. James’ Park – even if his latest match-winning exploits may not be enough to keep Dwight Gayle out of Newcastle’s starting line-up.

Mitrovic was ruthless on Saturday as he pounced twice to help Newcastle leave Preston with all three points.

On a tough afternoon in Lancashire, the 22-year-old made all the difference, but he still faces a tussle for his place as Gayle remains Rafael Benitez’s number one striker.

Gayle missed the Deepdale trip with a muscle strain which gave Mitrovic his chance to shine.

He can do no more at the moment as his two goals against Preston on Saturday followed the two he grabbed against the same opponents in the EFL Cup last Tuesday.

But the Serbian is remaining philosophical about his chances of ousting Gayle and just wants to keep improving.

He said: “All I can do is work hard and take my chances when I get them. The most important thing is to score goals and help the team and to stay on top of the league.

“I just train hard, work hard and try and score more goals. It’s not up to me to say whether I will play or not. Rafa will choose if I play or not. If I’m on the bench, I will fight for my place.

“Dwight is an amazing guy, he’s really positive and always looks forward. We are different types of players. I think I will learn a lot from him. He’s a good player, a good striker and a good person and I’m happy to share a position and a dressing room with him.”

Mitrovic has remained a fans’ favourite throughout his time on the sidelines and celebrated wildly with the fans, particularly after Saturday’s second goal.

He says it is the connection he feels with the St. James’ faithful that means he continues to enjoy his football on Tyneside.

And he is determined to play his part in firing Newcastle back into the Premier League.

He said: “It’s always nice when they sing your name. It feels amazing. I hope I repay them on the pitch.

“We want to win every game so it’s a good three points. It was an important game and we now have a few days more to prepare for our next game.

“We know what we want from this season - we want to stay at the top but the season is long and we have to carry on.

“We have to keep going and work harder in training and stay top of the league - that’s where we want to be at the end of the season.”