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Eddie Howe is confident Newcastle can buck the trend as they attempt to challenge Manchester United on and off the pitch.

The sides meet at St James’ Park in the Premier League on Sunday, little more than a month after the men from Old Trafford got the better of the Magpies in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley, the Tyneside outfit’s first major final in 24 years.

Head coach Howe and his players have gone much of the way towards closing the gap between the clubs in football terms with the help of sizeable investment from their Saudi-backed owners, but with United’s forecast turnover for 2022-23 approaching £600million, around three times the figure for Newcastle, a major financial challenge remains.

Manchester United celebrate victory over Newcastle in the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley
Manchester United celebrated victory over Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley (David Davies/PA)

Asked about that disparity, the former Bournemouth manager said: “I think you can buck the trend, of course you can, it’s possible. It’s not easy to do.

“I go back to my early coaching experiences and we were always trying to buck the trend. We were going against teams with far superior budgets to us for years and years.

“When you say how: team spirit, togetherness, implementing a plan, hopefully everyone’s on the same page and working harder than everyone else. That’s the simple blueprint that I’ve always tried to use.

“When you get to the elite level, as we are, it gets harder and harder. But believe in the squad we have and we’ll give everything to try to do that.”

Asked how quickly the Magpies could start to compete with the Red Devils off the pitch, Howe added: “You’re probably asking the wrong man.

“But there are ambitions for the club to grow the income. It’s vital that we do with Financial Fair Play because we’re going to be restricted depending on our income, so I know that’s the challenge that everyone at the club is trying to find answers to.”

Newcastle sit fifth in the table ahead of Sunday’s game, with United two places and three points better off, although having once again found themselves thrust into the headlines as a result of the 80 per cent stake Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund holds in the club.

The Premier League strengthened its owners’ and directors’ test to prevent anyone found to have committed human rights abuses taking charge of a club amid repeated calls from Amnesty International to re-examine Amanda Staveley’s takeover at St James’ Park.

Newcastle keeper Nick Pope is back in contention after a thigh injury
Newcastle keeper Nick Pope is back in contention after a thigh injury (Nigel French/PA)

Asked if he had spoken to the owners about the development, Howe said: “I haven’t seen anyone from the board in that period, but we will have conversations in due course. We will discuss lots of things to do with the football club and that may well come up.”

Meanwhile, Howe hopes to have keeper Nick Pope back in contention after he withdrew from the England squad with a thigh problem, while midfielder Anthony Gordon has returned to training following an ankle injury.

Joelinton, Sven Botman and Allan Saint-Maximin are available after suspension, food poisoning and injury respectively, but Miguel Almiron faces a further four weeks on the sidelines with a thigh problem.