It is Newcastle v Leeds on Friday, the match moved for live TV to a Friday night slot and yes still instantly sold out three weeks before it takes place.

To most neutrals, this is the game that most spells Premier League  in terms of the ‘names’ of the two clubs involved.

Leeds star Kemar Roofe has never played at St James Park before and says it is going to be a ‘massive occasion’ but that at the same time ‘Friday is just another three points…’.

The 24 year old midfielder/winger is a player that Newcastle were linked with a number of times last season, as he scored 18 goals in 40 League Two games for Oxford.

A classic case possibly of a player having to take a step backwards before going forwards again, Kemar Roofe came through at Premier League club West Brom but didn’t get a chance with the first team.

After loan spells he eventually made a permanent move down the divisions to Oxford but then Leeds have given him his chance and he could potentially be returning to the top tier as early as this coming August. However, he hasn’t found goalscoring quite as easy in the Championship, scoring just three so far.

Leeds’ win over Preston gives them a cushion of five points over those outside the play-off places but 12 points off Newcastle with only five games remaining.

The game promises much, as Newcastle look to ensure automatic promotion and the visitors a play-off place, plus the small matter of over fifty two thousand expectant fans paying to watch, as well as possibly the largest Championship TV audience of the season.

Kemar Roofe:

“I have never played at St James Park, so hopefully it will be my first time (on Friday).

“It is going to be a massive occasion but it is just another game.

“We’re going to do our best and we are confident in what we do, we can only look after ourselves.

“The game is 50-50 – 11 versus 11 – and they don’t have any more players than us.

“Friday is just another three points to push us on and cement that play-off place.

“We have got the players to do it and we showed against Preston (beat them 3-0 at the weekend) that, when we have got the ball and we are passing it around and attacking, we’re one of the best in the league.”



  • Wor Lass

    Judging by the lacklustre performance against Sheff Wed, Rafa has quite a job on his hands to build up team confidence for Friday. So many people had really bad games that it`s difficult to know where to start (although Diame would be a good place, in my opinion). It depends who`s fit enough` really. If Clark, Hayden and Yedlin are ready then they surely have to come in. Also, Mitro showed more fire and commitment in his 9 or so minutes than most of the other outfield players did in the whole game. The problem with predicting a team is that we don`t know who IS match fit, you don`t want to disrupt things by making too many changes at once and we all know how stubborn Rafa is over certain players. I`d go: Darlow, Yedlin, Clark, Mbemba, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden, Gouffran, Perez, Mitro. No doubt Rafa will pick Lascelles ahead of Mbemba. Gouffran and Perez have been poor but get in because I don`t think we`ve got anyone who`se playing any better at the minute.

    • nevfur

      Won’t happen but I would try Haidara left Ameobi right and Ritchie at no 10 behind Mitro. Our number tens have been so ineffective I even think playing Mitro behind Murphy or vice versa would work better. Certainly would catch Leeds out as they wouldn’t expect it. Hayden for Diame a must if fit but even Colback would be better than Diame there on last showing. Can’t see Clark or Yedlin being fit much though I would like it.

    • Rich Lawson

      Is Clark fit again ? I’d like to see Mitro and Murphy with Ritchie and Atsu putting the crosses in from either side,unlikely I know but surely we have to do something different to confound a useful Leeds side in such an important game ? This is the one we really need to win in the run up.

  • GToon

    If we got at them from the start then we could win. However, if we do our usual home start of graciously allowing their players to have the ball for the first half an hour we could end up behind and chasing the game. I’m not sure who should start but I think some kind of shake up is needed and it needs to involve Mitro playing more of a role.

    • Geordiegiants

      I might agree with a bit of a different approach, but Mitro? come off it.

    • Albert Stubbins

      could we let him be a ball boy? that’s a role he could perform-if he trained properly that is!! ;) I like Mitro but he’s not a footballer- I think everyone has accepted this now, certainly Rafa has I think its fair to say.

  • Peter Robson

    I like Leeds, but to describe them as a premier league name is bit far fletched !!!