Steve Stone predicts Leeds v Newcastle, states which team is nervous
By Matt Farr
Former player Steve Stone believes Leeds will emerge victorious from their visit to Newcastle in the Championship on Friday night.
Stone, who played as a midfielder for Leeds, has also spent time as part of the coaching setup at Newcastle, but he backed the Whites to win the promotion showdown at St. James’ Park.
Both sides have been in fine form this season, and are in comfortable positions in the promotion race, but the outcome of Friday’s result could have severe ramifications for either side.
Newcastle already have at least a top six finish guaranteed, but they still have their sights set on winning the Championship title, and they sit two points behind league leaders Brighton.
Leeds, meanwhile, have a five-point cushion in the play-offs, but Stone believes the home team will be the more nervous of the two sides during their upcoming clash, which could play into Leeds’ hands.
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He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I make Leeds favourites tonight. I really do. It sounds strange to say that about a game at St. James’ Park but I’d say they’ve been less up-and-down recently. There’s probably more nervousness at Newcastle than you realise.
“I don’t sense any huge pressure on the players at Leeds, even though they’d expect to get into the play-offs now. The look like a strong, powerful unit who know exactly how they’re supposed to play.
“The teams who’ve done well at Newcastle this season have all come here to have a go. They’ve come to St. James’ Park and been really positive. I’m sure Garry [Monk] will be aware of that.”
Newcastle’s task will be made all the more difficult as they will be facing their league rivals without their top goalscorer, Dwight Gayle.
The 26-year-old has been ruled out for at least the next two league games with a hamstring injury, and has scored 22 goals this season.
But they still pose a considerable threat in the final third, and Stone insists Leeds must still be wary of midfield duo Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey.
In other Leeds news, Alfonso Pedraza has sent this Twitter message to Leeds fans ahead of the clash.