NEIL Redfearn has declared confidence in Leeds United’s chances of beating Championship leaders Newcastle United on Sunday – insisting the match presents a sterner test for the Magpies than the Whites.
Leeds have climbed to sixth in the Championship table after a fantastic run of form under head coach Garry Monk with United having taken 22 points from their last 10 games.
Only two teams in the Championship can better that recent haul and one of them – league leaders Newcastle – visit Leeds on Sunday for a clash that will be screened live on Sky Sports and witnessed by a sell-out crowd at Elland Road which will be full for the first time in six years.
Under October’s Championship manager of the month Rafa Benitez, Newcastle have won their last eight games in league and cup and will arrive at Elland Road on the back of seven Championship victories in succession.
The Magpies sit three points clear of second-placed Brighton with the Toon Army as short as 1-3 favourites to win the division.
The Geordies are also odds on at 10-11 to win at Elland Road on Sunday with Leeds as big as 10-3 with the bookies.
Yet former Whites head coach Redfearn has been deeply impressed with what he has witnessed from Monk’s Whites of late with the 51-year-old having watched every game this season in his current role as a pundit for Radio Yorkshire.
Leeds now face this season’s toughest test against the league leaders – but Redfearn believes Leeds are capable of passing the assignment with flying colours.
Redfearn reasoned: “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.”
Newcastle’s fans will be vastly outnumbered with the Magpies given an away allocation of 2,714.
But Newcastle defender and captain Jamaal Lascelles says his side will have no trouble adjusting to the likely White-hot atmosphere.
In an interview with NUFC TV, Lascelles said: “Yes, the fans are quite lively down there and
“I’m pretty sure they will turn up even more against us.
“This is our job, this is what we do, we can handle the pressure.
“We play in front of 52,000 every other weekend so that is a massive stage – but we are looking forward to it.”