Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe has told Friday’s press conference – as per The Chronicle – that Saturday’s clash against Leeds United is “huge”, and expects the first 15 or 20 minutes to have a big say on the final result.

Both teams have something to fight for. Newcastle will know a win will almost cement their place in the Champions League next season, while Leeds desperately need points in order to survive the Premier League relegation scrap.

Indeed, for Leeds, this is almost must win. Ben Parker described the game as “do or die”, predicting a 1-0 win at Elland Road. But Leeds come into the game in dismal form, losing five of their last six games, drawing with Leicester.

Howe sat in front of media for Saturday’s game and said he is excited to experience the atmosphere at Elland Road come Saturday lunchtime. He also said that he believes the early stages of the game will dictate how the it finishes.

“We’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great occasion, a great atmosphere. We need to be ready for what’s coming. It’s going to be a really important start to the game. The first 15/20 minutes will have a huge impact.”

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Newcastle manager Eddie Howe says Leeds clash on Saturday is huge

Howe is right in saying the early stages of the match will be massive. Newcastle will try to press hard and keep Leeds penned in, and nick an early goal. They came very close to doing so against Arsenal, before losing 2-0.

Leeds need to be rigorously solid, and even go a bit more direct to bypass the early press and play on the counter. Allardyce is wily enough to know that the longer the game goes on, the more chance Leeds have of a result.

Is it must win? Forest go to Chelsea, Everton host Manchester City and Liverpool face Leicester. So, it could be a case where all three relegation rivals lose – and Leeds have got to capitalise. A point is good, a win is massive.

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