Is it time for Mohamed Diame to kick on at Newcastle?

Newcastle's Mohamed Diame misses a chance to score

The 29-year-old impressed for Newcastle United on Saturday.

Newcastle United reclaimed their spot at the top of the Championship with a 4-0 win over Birmingham City at St James's Park on Saturday.

Two goals from Dwight Gayle helped Newcastle - who had lost their last two league matches - into a comfortable 2-0 half-time lead.

Yoan Gouffran effectively killed off the match early in the second half, before Gayle completed his hat-trick on 77 minutes for what was his 16th Championship goal in 15 matches following his £10 million switch from Crystal Palace in the summer.

Newcastle United's Mohamed Diame (L) in action with Rotherham United's Will Vaulks

The 27-year-old is hugely popular on Tyneside for his contributions to helping the Magpies win their Premier League spot back, but another summer signing deserves credit for his performance on Saturday: Mohamed Diame.

Unlike Gayle, Diame, a £4.5 million signing from Hull City, has not been an instant hit with Newcastle fans but there are signs that he is hitting form at just the right time.

The 29-year-old posted a powerful, energetic performance - probably his best in a Newcastle shirt - in behind Gayle, and assisted his first of the afternoon with some fine work down the right-hand side.

Despite an inauspicious start, Diame is a problem - a big one.

He hit 10 Championship goals to help Hull win promotion to the Premier League last season - including a winner in the playoff final - and it'll boost United's hopes of reaching the promised land tremendously if he can now kick on from here.

He is yet to open his account for the Magpies in the Championship but it is only a matter of time, based on this performance. In fact, he probably has to find the goals.

Rafael Benitez's side have another four matches before January and Gayle, despite his record this season, is not super human. Of course, Benitez has Aleksandar Mitrovic to call upon if the Englishman goes off the boil, but an in-form Diame can fill the goalscoring void and help his team weather the upcoming storm of fixtures.

Newcastle's Mohamed Diame celebrates scoring their second goal

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch