New Sunderland boss Gus Poyet faces a baptism of fire in his first home game in charge as he welcomes fierce local rivals Newcastle for the first Tyne Weir derby of the season.
It was far from a dream start for the Uruguayan – a second half dismantling at the hands of Swansea made evident the size of the task that lay before him. Much like his predecessor Di Canio he faces Newcastle just two games into his Sunderland reign and will hope for a similar platform it provided last year – a 3 – 0 win for Di Canio provided the back drop for their survival in the Premier League. The support and atmosphere will be there at the Stadium of Light, it is more a question of whether Poyet can coax a battle worthy performance out of his form shy Black Cats.
Alan Pardew saw his Newcastle sink to a miserable home defeat in the last derby, and made clear the promise to “make sure it hurts our players until the end of the season and even into next year, trust me”. What will add further fire to the encounter – if any was needed – is Newcastle’s two defeats to Poyet’s old side Brighton in FA cup ties that saw tensions in the dugouts boil over between coaches John Carver and Charlie Oatway.
Wes Brown appears to have recovered from a calf problem sustained in pre season and could be set for his first competitive game since January last year. Loan signing Ki Sung-Yeung is available again after being ineligible to face parent club Swansea.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa serves his one match ban following his sending off last weekend, meaning Newcastle have worries in defence. Duo Steven Tyaylor and Fabricio Coloccini face assessments ahead of Sundays game.
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