YOAN Gouffran has been backed to bring more goals to Newcastle - and challenge for a role up front.
The forward joined the club in January from Bordeaux.
And the 27-year-old scored three goals as the club fought a relegation battle.
Gouffran was largely used as a wide man by United manager Alan Pardew, who fielded Papiss Demba Cisse as a lone striker.
However, the former France Under-21 international can also play as an out and out striker.
And Gouffran impressed in the role in the pre-season win over Motherwell last week.
Pardew - who is looking to play two strikers next season - feels Gouffran can also challenge his forwards for a place up front next term.
“I want competition for those two players - Gouff will definitely offer that,” said Pardew.
Gouffran showed in the second half of last season he can be more than just a squad player.
And his versatility will be a source of strength to Newcastle over the coming campaign, according to Pardew.
“I think all strikers want to be the No9 who gets the goals and plays through the middle,” he said.
“That’s a very important role for this team.
“Gouff has shown that he can give us quality in that area, and depending on our business, he could get a start there.”
Meanwhile, Crewe Alexandra manager Steve Davis has suggested that midfielder Brad Inman is keen to join the club on a permanent basis.
Inman had a spell on loan at Gresty Road from Newcastle last season.
The 21-year-old - who is out of contract - has been offered a new deal at United.
Should Inman join Crewe, Newcastle would be due compensation.
“He appears keen to come,” said Davis. “He hasn’t expressed wishes to go anywhere else, but we’re no further forward than last week.
“We’ve not agreed anything yet. If we can agree something, then we will do something.
“He’s down at the club, but we can’t do anything with him in terms of training until we try and sort out something with Newcastle.”