John Carver: This is how Newcastle will fall straight into Leeds hands
By Dominic Toner
John Carver feels that Newcastle could fall straight into Leeds’ hands due to the absence of the injured Dwight Gayle.
The 26-year-old forward has picked up a hamstring injury and is expected to be sidelined for the Magpies on Friday.
Newcastle host the Whites in the Championship and the loss of their 22-goal striker will be a big blow.
Rafael Benitez could turn to Aledsandar Mitrovic or Daryl Murphy to lead the Newcastle attack, who are both recognised as powerful forwards.
Carver, who has previously worked with Newcastle and Leeds, feels that the Whites defence would prefer to face a more physical attacker over the pacy Gayle.
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“They’ll miss Gayle,” Carver told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “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 (Aleksandar) Mitrovic or Daryl Murphy, Newcastle might have to be a bit more direct and Leeds’ defence would probably be happy about that.”
Garry Monk is likely to continue with the centre-back combination of Kyle Bartley and Pontus Jansson on Friday, while Liam Cooper continues to serve his six-game suspension.
Leeds will be expecting a tough game away at St James’ Park as the host are the top goal scorers in the Championship this season (74).
The Yorkshire giants are fifth-placed in the league table and are trying to secure a play-off spot, while second-placed Newcastle are aiming to wrap up automatic promotion.
In other Leeds news, the talkSPORT super computer has predicted the club’s end of season finish.