DWIGHT GAYLE sharpened up his match fitness and Jack Colback saw his exile ended as Newcastle’s Under-23s suffered a 1-0 defeat to Wolves.

Gayle played for just over an hour at St James’ Park in an attempt to push his claims for a return to the starting line-up in Sunday’s first-team game with Liverpool.

The striker had the ball in the net after 26 minutes, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside, and also had a header from a corner cleared off the line.

Colback lined up alongside Henri Saivet and Rolando Aarons in midfield, having spent the whole of this season training with Newcastle’s second-string players. The midfielder turned down a move to Wolves on transfer-deadline day, but Rafael Benitez remains adamant he will not be offered a return to the first team.

Wolves scored the only goal of the game in the tenth minute, with Donovan Wilson beating Freddie Woodman with the aid of a deflection.

Newcastle came close to claiming an equaliser in the second half, but Anthony Breslin cleared Yasin Ben El-Mhanni’s goalbound effort off the line.

Newcastle: Woodman; Sterry, Yarney, Gillesphey, Cameron; Colback, Saivet; Charman, Barlaser (Smith 85), Aarons (Sangare 85); Gayle (El-Mhanni 61).