Rob Elliot

By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor

Despite an up and down season, Manchester United come to St. James' Park on Saturday as the reigning Barclays Premier League champions and fresh from an impressive Champions League display against Bayern Munich.

And while on the face of it the weekend's fixture is 9th in the table against 7th, Magpies goalkeeper Rob Elliot insists it's a "massive game" every time the two Uniteds come face to face.

Having performed admirably at Southampton on his first leagur start of the campaign seven days earlier, the 27-year-old custodian will start between the posts at the weekend with Tim Krul injured.

In December, Newcastle won at Old Trafford for the first time since 1972 and have the chance to complete a rare double over the Red Devils.

And the omens are good, for the Magpies have won all four matches between the two sides at top flight, under-21 and under-18 level this term.

Speaking to nufcTV, Elliot said: "It's a massive game, Man United and Newcastle, no matter where everyone is in the league or where Man United are.

"We need to make sure we're ready for it. Away from home they've almost been better than last season so we need to make sure we can step up to it - and fingers crossed, maybe beat them twice in a season."

After making 17 appearances in all competitions last season, Elliot has had to be patient this time around with his only two appearances before last weekend coming against Morecambe and Cardiff in the Capital One Cup and FA Cup respectively.

But good things come to those who wait, and facing the likes of Wayne Rooney is something that the former Charlton man will relish.

"On a personal level, playing against Man United at St. James' is the pinnacle and that's what you want to do," he said.

"It's hard not playing - any goalkeeper will know that you can't really replicate the match situation.

"I think it's harder when you come in for one game because there's so much more expectation.

"If you don't play well, you have to sit and wait for three or four months for another opportunity so it's good to know the game's going to come and hopefully I can keep improving.

"No matter what age you are, you always want to improve and for me on a personal level I've got a lot of things I want to do.

"I want to become number one here and I want to get into the Ireland team so there's a lot for me on a personal level but the first thing is we've got to get the results and be part of a winning team."

Click here to see the full nufcTV interview with Rob Elliot