EDDIE HOWE expects Newcastle United to continue to build slowly, but with the long-term backing of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the Magpies manager sees no reason why the club cannot one day seek to emulate tomorrow’s title-chasing opponents, Manchester City.

Like City, who are majority owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, Newcastle also find themselves in the hands of wealthy Middle Eastern-based backers whose avowed intention is to challenge at the very highest level in both England and Europe.

In the 14 years of their current ownership model, City have transformed themselves from a middle-ranking Premier League club who had recently spent time in the third tier into one the richest and most successful sporting brands in the world.

Newcastle supporters are dreaming of embarking on a similar journey, and the club’s co-owner, Amanda Staveley, hardly dampened down expectations when she discussed her future plans in the immediate aftermath of last autumn’s takeover. “Of course, we have the same ambitions as Manchester City in terms of trophies,” said Staveley. “But that will take time.”

Howe has always been more circumspect when it comes to discussing Newcastle’s potential future growth, but ahead of tomorrow’s trip to the Etihad to take on a Manchester City side who need four more wins to guarantee the title, the Newcastle boss is confident the club can ascend to a level that matches their ‘new-found status’.

“I don’t know how Manchester City would categorise their rise, but it did take time,” said Howe. “Nothing’s built overnight, and there needs to be a period where you adjust to your new status. Especially at a football club, you can’t wave a magic wand and change things straight away.

“You certainly can’t do it in one transfer window, it’s going to take time. You can’t change the dynamics of a team too quickly because if you do, you’re going to end up with a negative effect rather than a positive. I’m well aware of that.

“But over time, I think you can definitely improve, make gains in every area, and then hopefully you can get the consistency the club is looking for in terms of their new-found status. There’s no guarantee, but we have big ambitions. We’ll work towards being successful, but it may take time.”