After a two-week long international break, Newcastle return to action when they face Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday. Leeds will come into this game off the back of an impressive win against promotion rivals Norwich City, beating them 3-2, and Garry Monk’s side will also be looking to extend their five game unbeaten run in all competitions by inflicting the Magpies’ first defeat since mid-September.

Ahead of the game, I caught up with Sean Emmett, who is a life-long Leeds United supporter, and asked him a few questions about the tie as well as his views on both sides’ prospects for the season.

Hi Sean, first of all can you tell me who you think your star player(s) are.

Pontus Jansson has made a remarkable impact in the short time since he joined on loan from Torino. His partnership along with Kyle Bartley has seen us solidify an area (central defence) where we have been seriously poor for a number of seasons.

Eunan O’Kane’s arrival from Bournemouth has enabled our midfield to mesh youthful potential (Phillips/Vieira) with experience (Pablo Henandez). Hernadez has sharpened our creativity.

Hadi Sacko on the right flank has also improved our attacking potential. Finally Chris Wood is now turning into the top marksman we thought we had signed a year ago (he’s got 11 goals so far).

You’re currently sitting in sixth position, is that the area (play-offs) where you think you will finish come the end of the season?

With the wholesale changes in players, staff and management during the summer, most Leeds fans were realistically looking for a top ten finish, thinking it would take longer to gel. Given where we are now anything is possible.

We are close to having a very good squad and, provided we keep what we’ve already got in January and add another proven striker and back up strong defender, I can see us definitely being in the play offs or even the automatics.

Our evident squad unity is the most pleasing factor. We have Monk and Clotet to thank for the old Bremner ethic of ‘side before self’ shining through after many years absence.

Your opposition Newcastle United have also been in great form themselves. Which Newcastle player(s) do you think Leeds will have to keep a close eye on when the two teams meet on Sunday?

Given your existing squad and spending power at this level Newcastle have a clear advantage on virtually the whole division. The 3 players that jump out to me given your performances so far are as follows.

Jonjo Shelvey, who I rated at Swansea and who probably wasn’t given enough time at Liverpool. I see he’s been dominating the centre of the park for you.

Secondly Alexsandar Mitrovic, who seems to have all the attributes to go right to the top.

And thirdly Dwight Gayle who I believe is your top scorer this term. Gayle can be lethal at this level and when you get him and the Serbian together I can’t see many teams being able to stop you. I really hope those two get to combine at Elland Road as they will be up against the two best defenders in this league. That would be a great battle.

Back to Leeds, How hard of a job do you think Garry Monk will have with this Leeds team?

Not hard at all with the team it’s the lunatic owner he’s got to watch out for. As I said earlier, he’s already created a wonderful togetherness and fighting spirit in the playing staff.

To a man the squad have taken to his management style and you can see in the interactions and interviews that they have all bought into his leadership. He also has the fan base solidly with him unlike any since Grayson which of course makes his job easier.

I must say, his number two, Pep Clotet, needs a special mention also. His European knowledge has led to some terrific overseas players joining, especially Jansson, Sacko and Antonsson. If these two can be given the space to operate without Cellino’s interference we might just be on to something special at long last.

What would you rate your season so far?

After the worst start in 60 years we’ve climbed from 22nd to 6th in two months. This group have got a lot of talent, albeit somewhat inexperienced given their general youthfulness. It’s therefore been a rollercoaster.

If i was asked this even a month ago I would have rated it 6/10 but given our run of 8 victories out of the last 12 in all competitions I would have to now say it’s 7.5/10.

Do you have a score prediction for Sunday’s game?

** **2-2. Roofe and Doukara for Leeds and Gayle and Gouffran for Newcastle.

To finish this interview, could you tell me your predicted line up for Sunday?

Provided everyone’s available to play, it will be as it was at Norwich. Green, Ayling, Jansson and Bartley, Taylor. Phillips and O’Kane, Hernandez. Roofe, Wood, Doukara: 4213

We would like to thank Sean for taking the time to answer all of our questions and we look forward to Sunday’s game with great anticipation!