John Carver has been looking ahead to Newcastle v Leeds.
As well as his time at St James Park, he was also assistant manager and first team coach at Elland Road at one time.
John Carver says that Newcastle will really miss Dwight Gayle who has picked up yet another hamstring injury, Pardew’s former assistant saying that ‘one of the biggest things Newcastle got right was signing quality Championship players’.
In the number nine’s absence, Carver says that Newcastle are going to have to go more direct if they play either Murphy or Mitrovic and that will suit Leeds.
As Elland Road earlier this season, it was two goals from Dwight Gayle that won the match.
John Carver says ‘there is a little bit of pressure on Newcastle because they haven’t been performing too well at home’, something which he believes means ‘Leeds go there with a real chance’.
To put it into perspective though…Newcastle have lost at home once since Boxing Day, whilst Leeds have only won two games away from home since then.
John Carver talking to the Yorkshire Evening Post:
“It’s never done until the table says so but Newcastle have got enough points to get over the line.
“I feel the same about Leeds. It’s another result or two to be certain but, realistically, I don’t see it going wrong for either of them.
“It’s a huge game on Friday because of the crowd and the clubs involved but it’s not a game where you feel like everything’s riding on it. That’s going to come later, or certainly for Leeds.
“I’ve watched a lot of the season and quite a few of the teams around Leeds look a bit hit-and-miss. Leeds, to me, are the one: always at the same sort of level and very difficult to beat.
“They’ve been there for most of the season but they’ve been quite quiet going about their business. They don’t see the need to be shouting the odds and they’ve come up on the rails. That tells me there’s real confidence in the camp.
“Newcastle are doing what they needed to do.
“They’re on the way to getting back into the Premier League and when you’ve been in the Championship you find out how hard that is. No club knows it better than Leeds.
“There’s a little bit of pressure on Newcastle because they haven’t been performing too well at home. Leeds go there with a real chance I think.
“An early goal always sets Newcastle up nicely at St James Park and an early goal (conceded) is exactly what Leeds have to avoid but the players are going to go at each other because a game like this you want to win. It’s that simple.
“Forget about the table for a minute – Newcastle versus Leeds in the Championship is a huge game.
“They’ll miss Gayle. He’s a top player in the Championship and one of the biggest things Newcastle got right this season was signing quality Championship players.
“If Benitez starts Mitrovic or Daryl Murphy, Newcastle might have to be a bit more direct and Leeds’ defence would probably be happy about that.
“At the same time, you can’t ignore the talent in Newcastle’s squad. However you look at it, I don’t think it’s a result you can call.”