NEWCASTLE are nervously awaiting the results of scans on Dwight Gayle's latest hamstring injury amid fears their 22-goal top scorer faces being ruled out for the rest of the season.

Gayle will learn his fate today after undergoing tests in the wake of the £10m summer signing from Crystal Palace being forced off early in the damaging 2-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.

Rafa Benitez admitted it was too early to give an accurate prognosis in the immediate aftermath of the injury setback, which the Spaniard revealed wasn't a recurrence of an old problem but rather a fresh issue with the 26-year-old's right leg.

A Newcastle spokesman confirmed: "Dwight is currently undergoing tests to determine the severity of his injury so it is not yet known how long he may be out injured."

The potential loss of Gayle is an unwanted development with the Magpies on the verge of clinching automatic promotion from the Championship. Ahead of the visit by play-off-chasing Leeds united on Friday, Benitez's side trail leaders Brighton by two points with five games remaining, but enjoy a 10-point advantage over Huddersfield Town, who are third.

Gayle has played a central role in the bid to seal an immediate return to the Premier League following relegation last May. He scored 12 goals in 10 games in a prolific two-and-a-half month spell from the end of September, although he has found the net just three times since the turn of the year as he has struggled for form and fitness.

His importance is underlined by the fact that Matt Ritchie, who has scored 15 goals in all competitions, is the only other Newcastle player into double figures in the current campaign.

Former non-league forward Gayle was edged out by Brighton's Anthony Knockaert for Championship player of the season, although he earned a place in the EFL team of the year.

However, if Gayle's worst fears are realised and the injury is season ending, it will extinguish his hopes of claiming the division's golden shoe award. Leeds United's New Zealand forward Chris Wood currently leads the way with 24 goals, although Gayle's have come at a better rate, from just 26 starts with a further five appearances from the bench in an outstanding first full campaign at St James' Park.