Eddie Howe has praised Newcastle United’s rapid progress on the one-year anniversary of their change of ownership, which the Magpies will look to celebrate with a win when they host Brentford on Saturday.

Howe has led Newcastle to a strong start to their first full season under the new regime, and they sit seventh in the Premier League table after only losing one of their first eight games.

Speaking at his pre-match news conference, Howe said: “The club has come a long way. I’ve said this right from day one – it’s always about the football for me.

“The positivity, first and foremost, was what hit me with everyone connected with the club and what may lie ahead. That positivity is still there and that is a difficult thing to keep.

“Everyone behind the scenes has done a very good job in terms of putting the building blocks in place for what the club needs for long-term success, and hopefully we can deliver that.”

Thomas Frank has Brentford sitting in the top half of the table after eight matches despite working on a fraction of the hosts’ budget, and believes their ability to compete is a “miracle”.

“If we have the money we have now, they have their money and we continue doing that, if we are the same level at the same time, it will be an even bigger miracle than it is now that we are competing,” Frank said.

“Of course, we know in football money talks. Over time it is very difficult to compete against the big, big money and that’s why we talk about the big six.

“Newcastle want to challenge that and there is no doubt they are aiming to be top six, so maybe we need to start to talk about a top seven in the future.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Newcastle United – Miguel Almiron

Almiron has scored three goals in his last six Premier League games, as many as he had in his previous 48 appearances. He’s looking to score in consecutive appearances in the competition for just the second time, previously doing so in July 2020.

Brentford – Mathias Jenson

No Brentford player has managed more Premier League assists than Jenson this season (two, level with Ivan Toney), and the midfielder’s contribution could be key at both ends at St James’ Park.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Newcastle United are unbeaten in their last six league matches against Brentford (W5 D1), with their only failure to win in this run coming at home last season in the Premier League, a 3-3 draw.

– The five league meetings between Newcastle and Brentford at St James’ Park have seen 24 goals scored, at an average of 4.8 per game. All of these games have been in different decades (1930s, 1940s, 1990s, 2010s, 2020s).

– Newcastle have made more high turnovers than any other Premier League side this season (87). Meanwhile, only Nottingham Forest (18) and Everton (15) have faced more shots from such situations than Brentford (14).

– As well as being involved in nearly half of Brentford’s 15 Premier League goals this season (5 goals, 2 assists), Ivan Toney has had more shots (23) and created more chances from open play (10) than any other player for the Bees this term.

– Newcastle striker Callum Wilson has scored five goals in his last five Premier League games, and is looking to score in three consecutive home league games for the first time since October 2021.