The return of Premier League action means the return of Mark Lawrenson’s BBC predictions column.
The former Liverpool defender has offered his verdict on how he thinks Newcastle’s game of Eddie Howe’s reign will go.
Newcastle host Brentford, who lost 2-1 at home to Norwich City last time out.
Lawro’s Newcastle vs Brentford prediction
“Eddie Howe has the toughest job of the three new Premier League managers. Everyone will be talking about how much money he has to spend in the January transfer window.
“But there is a lot of hard work to be done before they get to that point. Who they bring in then will be pivotal in terms of whether they stay up but he has to get some results with his existing players first.
“That won’t be easy. The Magpies are in a relegation battle, and they haven’t won a game yet this season despite playing most of the teams around them at the bottom already.
This might just be a good time to play Brentford.
“The Bees have lost their past four league games. Newcastle’s defence will have to improve if they are going to keep a clean sheet for the first time in the league this season.
“But there will be a fabulous atmosphere again at St James’ Park and I have a feeling they will find a way of winning this one.
“Three points here would only be a stepping stone to survival, but it is vital that Howe gets off to a good start. He is a really good coach, but results are the only way he will convince his players of that, and the fans too. Lawro’s prediction: 2-0.”
Lawrenson’s fellow pundit Paul Merson also thinks Newcastle will get that first win of the season on Saturday.
He has gone for a 1-0 win, while Lawrenson expects the Howe era to get off to a slightly more comfortable start than that.
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