Newcastle United will be determined to make up for their recent Tyne-Wear derby woes by seeing off arch rivals Sunderland in what is set to be a highly-charged affair at St. James’ Park.
After their famous triumph over Chelsea, Alan Pardew’s men were brought back down to earth by Arsenal last time out in the Premier League, but despite the 4-1 defeat, they battled hard and often looked threatening going forward, but came across opponents in great form.
The wait for a first major trophy since 1969 has been much-publicised and another chance was missed on Wednesday as the Magpies were well beaten by Tottenham in the Capital One Cup, but a first win over Sunderland since August 2011 will more than make up for that.
Visiting boss Gustavo Poyet will be hoping that this is the game that Sunderland can raise their level after a frustrating few weeks which have seen the club draw too many games for the Uruguayan’s liking, leaving them just two points above the drop zone.
The most recent of those was at home to West Ham United, which arose from a decent if unspectacular performance. The Black Cats are struggling due to a lack of flair players and are lacking in invention, while striker Steven Fletcher is blowing hot and cold.
This will surely be an interesting occasion for Newcastle midfielder Jack Colback, who has made an impressive start to his time at the club after joining from Sunderland, for whom he scored in this fixture last season.
Darryl Janmaat is back from suspension for Newcastle, who should have Papiss Cisse and Moussa Sissoko fit. Jak Alnwick will continue in goal.
Sunderland could gave Billy Jones and Emanuele Giaccherini back after long-term injuries, while Poyet must decide whether to restore Fletcher to the starting XI.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Newcastle