Big crowd expected for Eels match

The Knights are expecting a bumper crowd for their clash with the Eels this Friday night - their first home game in a month.

Skipper Andrew Johns and his troops will be playing in Newcastle for the first time since their clash with the Melbourne Storm on June 8. Since then, the Knights have played three consecutive away games against the Eels, Tigers and Rabbitohs for two wins and a loss.

The Novocastrians will welcome back three Origin stars missing from last week's win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs, but will have to do without Matthew Gidley who underwent surgery last night after sustaining an injury to his groin on Saturday night.

The team, currently in equal second place are looking to put a further two points between themselves and their 2001 Grand Final opponents on Friday.

Parramatta are in the middle of a horror run of tough matches, having tackled the Bulldogs, Roosters, Knights and Broncos in their last four matches for only three premiership points.

Having lost three of their last four games against Newcastle, the Eels will no doubt be looking for revenge on the Knights home pitch.

Speaking today, Skipper Andrew Johns said he was looking forward to playing in front of his home-town crowd in such a big game.

"The Origin series is always a fantastic experience, but there is nothing quite the same as running out to a big crowd at EnergyAustralia Stadium," he said.

"The last time we played Parra was only a few weeks ago and their fans turned out in force for what was a very high quality game of footy."

"Now it's our turn to put on a show and with Test positions up for grabs, I'm sure this game will lose nothing by comparison."

Knights officials are encouraging fans to pre-purchase tickets to avoid lengthy queues on Friday night.

Tickets can be purchased at the Knights Kingdom in Hunter Street and all NIB outlets.

Tickets will also be available at Rebel Sport, Charlestown as of today.

Supporters should note that the Knights Kingdom store at Charlestown Square has closed in anticipation of a re-launch at Rebel on Sunday 7 July.