Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is said to be raring to go ahead of the season’s first Tyne-Wear derby at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, reports The
The 52-year-old is keen to lay to rest the ghosts of last season’s 3-0 defeat at St. James’ Park, and is hoping his Toon Army can capitalise on their neighbours’ troubles so far this season.
Sunderland sit bottom with only a single point from their first eight games, but this game represents new manager Gus Poyet’s second game in charge – just as the reverse fixture last season did for Paolo Di Canio, who was dismissed last month following a reported player revolt.
Pardew, however, knows his side has work to do if they are to get their revenge, but is confident that the Geordies can pick up the three points.
He said: “The derby always brings a certain tension to the training ground, in a good way. We are looking forward to it as we are off the back of two good performances and we want to get a third under our belts. This group of players have had that question mark against them, particularly after last year.
“I have always felt that the spirit was in the group, but sometimes you need a game like Liverpool, or to go down to 10 men, for it to come to the fore. I think our fans saw that our players care very much about the team and the fans and wanted to put in a performance that merited that. But this is a very different game.”
Pardew is aware of Poyet’s desire to improve fortunes in Sunderland, and believes that the situation adds to the occasion, continuing: ”It is Gus Poyet’s first home game as the manager of Sunderland, so there will be an extra special atmosphere there. We need to be prepared for that. We have got a good side and I think we’ve got a very attacking side. We are good to watch when we are in full flow and hopefully we can bring that to the surface on Sunday. I have not spoken to Gus yet but I will be sending him a good luck message.
“They have got one point so there is a lot of pressure on them, but they have got good players and it is always difficult at the Stadium of Light. I have seen two games there this year and I thought they did OK.”
A win for Sunderland would see them move from the bottom of the table, as they would leapfrog Crystal Palace, but they would remain some way off the safety spots.
Newcastle, meanwhile, could add to their solid start to the season, with a win potentially lifting them back into the top half of the table.
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