Chris Wood could make his Newcastle United debut against Leeds United at Elland Road

Former Leeds United striker Chris Wood could make his first appearance for Newcastle United against the Whites at Elland Road later this month.

By Flora Snelson
Thursday, 13th January 2022, 10:28 am
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 10:28 am

The 30-year-old has departed Burnley to sign with Newcastle on a two-and-a-half-year deal which will keep him at St James' Park until 2024.

Wood bagged 41 goals over 83 appearances over two seasons for the Whites before Burnley paid a club-record £15m to secure his services in 2017.

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The New Zealander has topped the Turf Moor goal-scoring charts every season since, and has bagged three during Burnley's fight for survival this term.

Wood's mid-season switch comes amid a relegation battle between the Clarets and the Magpies, with former club Leeds also struggling to pull clear of the bottom of the table.

Newcastle and Burnley are both in the relegation zone and tied on 11 points, while Leeds sit 16th, eight points clear of the drop.

In a deal though to be worth £25m, Wood's transfer looks set to cause major upheaval in the scrap for a place in next season's Premier League.

Chris Wood celebrates scoring against Crystal Palace shortly after his Elland Road departure in 2017. Pic: Nathan Stirk.

During Newcastle's first transfer window since last year's takeover, the Magpies have moved to resolve a spate of injuries leaving holes in Howe's attacking line with Newcastle's top scorer Callum Wilson notably facing an eight-week lay-off as he recovers from a calf injury.

Amid concerns about Howe's offensive options, the Tyneside club have drafted in Wood as reinforcements two days before travelling to Vicarage Road for a Premier League clash against relegation rivals Watford.

But the striker could make his Newcastle debut against his former side later this month, with Howe's side set to battle it out with Leeds at Elland Road on January 22.

On the reverse, the Whites were held to a 1-1 draw at St James' Park where, on the brink of half time, Allan Saint-Maximin slalomed through Leeds' defence to equalise after Raphinha scored an early opener for the visitors. Neither side could find a winner after the interval and the match ended honours even.

Chris Wood scores in the 61st minute of Leeds United's 1-1 draw with Burnley at Turf Moor in August. Pic: Jan Kruger.

During Leeds' 1-1 tie with Burnley in August, Wood found the net against his ex-club as the Clarets took a second-half lead over Leeds before Patrick Bamford nabbed a late equaliser for the visitors. The striker also featured during Burnley's Elland Road visit earlier this month, but drew a blank as the hosts claimed a landmark 3-1 win over Sean Dyche's side.As the fight to preserve Premier League status hots up, Wood is determined to have an impact.

"This is a very exciting opportunity for me and I'm delighted to be a Newcastle United player," Wood said upon signing for the Tyneside club.

"I have played at St James' Park a few times and it's an amazing place, so to have the chance to represent this club with those incredible supporters behind me and my team-mates is very special.

"The club and manager have been first class during this process, and I really can't wait to get on to the pitch and repay the faith they have in me, especially with a vital part of the season ahead of us."

Chris Wood celebrates scoring against Birmingham City alongside Leeds United teammate Kalvin Phillips and Pablo Hernandez in March 2017. Pic: Laurence Griffiths.

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Chris Wood applauds the crowd after Burnley's 2-1 defeat to Brighton in August 2021. Pic: Nathan Stirk.