Rajiv van La Parra says Huddersfield Town can handle the heat as they prepare to play in front of a biggest crowd for five years, and largest in a league game since 1972, at Newcastle United.
The eagerly-awaited Championship clash is set to attract more than 52,000 to St James’ Park, including 3,200 Town supporters desperate to see David Wagner’s side upset the odds and seal successive league wins.
It’s the first home game of the season for the relegated Magpies, and the air of optimism created by the permanent appointment of Rafa Benitez as boss will be reflected by an attendance which will be the highest-ever at a Town second tier match.
The previous figure of 49,672 was also at St James’ in April 1963, when Newcastle were held 1-1, and Saturday’s figure could better the 52,100 who watched Town’s play-off win over Sheffield United at Wembley in 2012.
That would make it the biggest for a game involving Town since the FA Cup fourth-round tie at Arsenal in January 2011, which was seen by 59,374, and it will be the largest for a regular league match since 53,581 saw the 2-0 top-flight defeat at Manchester United in March 1972.
It’s a step-up from last season’s highest figure of 29,698 at Derby County, but wideman van La Parra insists Town – who were 2-1 opening-day winners at home to Brentford – have what it takes to bounce back from their EFL Cup exit at Shrewsbury.
Making it six points from six and condemning Newcastle to another loss after their 1-0 defeat at Fulham is the aim and the Dutchman said: “We are looking forward to the game.
“Obviously Newcastle will be something special – they are a former Premier League team with a massive home support and a great stadium.
“We can’t afford to underestimate the challenge they pose. They are a big club with big players and after losing against Fulham, they will be out to prove something.
“But we have shown in the past that when we play our own game, we have nothing to fear.”