The Rafa Benitez Leeds press conference has taken place on Friday lunchtime.
The Newcastle boss has confirmed that only one player is not available for Sunday’s match.
The identity if that player is Rolando Aarons after suffering his ACL injury in midweek, Rafa commiserating with the young winger.
On the other hand, the United boss confirmed that Jonjo Shelvey is up for selection, his not guilty plea meaning any potential ban won’t happen until an FA hearing and of course he’ll need to then be found at fault.
Rafa Benitez acknowledged the press reports linking Newcastle with Steven Gerrard but limited himself to praising his former star player.
Ahead of the 11th minute tribute to Gary Speed, Rafa said that the former Newcastle and Leeds player ‘had the respect of everyone’.
With Leeds due to post their first capacity crowd in over six years, the Newcastle Manager says it is a ‘massive game for everyone’.
Newcastle could go 14 points clear of Leeds and potentially 11 points ahead of third, whilst Leeds could cut the gap to 8 points between themselves and NUFC, as well as possibly going as high as third in the table.
Bring it on!
Rafa Benitez Leeds press conference:
“Stevie (Gerrard) is a fantastic player. I saw he was linked with us – one of the best I have ever had. He can do well if he follows that path (into management).
“I’m really disappointed about Rolando’s injury. It is really bad luck. He was working so hard to be ready.
“The atmosphere in training has been fantastic – everyone has been working hard. I’m really pleased with everyone.
“A massive game (Leeds v Newcastle) for everybody but the kind of game you want to play.
“There will be a lot of fans in the stadium and it’s a massive game for everyone.
“Gary Speed was a good player for both clubs, a big name and someone who had the respect of everyone.
“A good young manager (Garry Monk) who is growing and is going to get better in the future.”