Former Leeds boss Neil Redfearn has once again been talking about whether or not Newcastle United will be able to handle the pressure/atmosphere on Sunday.
He says that with around 35,000 Leeds supporters and only a couple of thousand from Newcastle ‘it will be a really intimidating atmosphere for Newcastle’.
On the other hand, he says that after picking up 22 points from the last 30, Leeds United are ‘growing up with that expectation and that atmosphere now and they are getting used to it’.
It should be a decent occasion with a canny atmosphere but some of the former Leeds players/managers and pundits are getting a little carried away. Leeds ARE a big club but the way the likes of Neil Redfearn are going on, they are at risk of making this out to be a little bit like a cup match where the plucky underdog is going to surprise the big team with all of these new fans who are suddenly turning up.
Not quite sure what the Leeds players have actually got ‘used to’ when it comes to crowds/atmosphere…?
The last three home gates at Elland Road have been 24,220 (win over Burton, 22,222 (League Cup victory over Norwich) and 19,861 (draw against Wigan). So maybe the Leeds players have been getting more used to open spaces than big game atmospheres!
The last capacity crowd at Leeds was over six years ago and this season the biggest attendance so far was only 28,514 for the visit of Huddersfield.
Leeds have got a fair few younger players with little experience, as opposed to Newcastle’s team who play in front of fifty thousand every match at home – I think I know who should be the most prepared for Sunday when it comes to handling a bigger occasion and expectation.
Neil Redfearn talking to the Yorkshire Evening Post:
“I would say that this is a big game for Newcastle because I just look at Leeds now and they are just in that sort of run of form where they are playing with confidence.
“They will have a big part in that crowd as I don’t think Newcastle have been given that many tickets so there won’t be that many Newcastle people there.
“It will be all for Leeds and it will be 30-odd thousand so I think it will be a really intimidating atmosphere for Newcastle – it’s going to be all Leeds with 36 or 37 thousand.
“And to be honest I think it will be a bigger test for Newcastle perhaps then it will be for Leeds. This team is growing up with that expectation and that atmosphere now and they are getting used to it.
“It will be a cracking game and one that I am looking forward to.
“You are talking about 35,000 Leeds fans so it will be a cracking atmosphere.”