Sunderland v Newcastle preview
Last Updated: October 21, 2012 12:48pm
James McClean: Sat out international action but could return to the Sunderland side on derby day
There promises to be Super Sunday fireworks at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland lock horns with Newcastle United in the Wear-Tyne derby.
It is fair to say there is no love lost between the two North East neighbours, with local bragging rights considered to be as important as the three points at stake.
Supporters from both sides have been able to get that point across to their respective foreign contingents, with players from either side of the divide talking up the magnitude of the contest during the pre-match preparations.
Sunderland will need no reminding that they have had little to cheer against their arch-rivals in recent times, with just one victory taken from the last 15 meetings between the two clubs.
They have, however, made a steady start to the current campaign, suffering only one defeat, and would clamber above Newcastle with victory this weekend.
The Magpies will be desperate to avoid such an occurrence, with their focus locked on closing on a top four that has already edged five points clear.
Whatever happens on Sunday, it promises to be a lively encounter and referee Martin Atkinson would be advised to keep his cards close to hand - with the last four North East tussles producing four red cards (all for Sunderland) and 25 yellows.
Sunderland winger James McClean will be in contention for derby duty after shaking off a groin injury.
The 23-year-old was ruled out of the Republic of Ireland's 6-1 defeat by Germany with the ailment, and was not risked for Tuesday's trip to the Faroe Islands, but Martin O'Neill considers him to be fit and available.
Full-back Phil Bardsley could also make the squad after returning to action for the Under-21s side following an ankle injury which has sidelined him since pre-season, but defender Titus Bramble is a doubt with a hip flexor problem and skipper Lee Cattermole completes his three-match ban.
Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini and Tim Krul all returned to training with Newcastle during the week, handing Alan Pardew a pre-derby boost.
Taylor is back from a calf injury picked up against Reading, Coloccini has been nursing a hamstring complaint for several weeks and Krul sustained an elbow injury while in international duty with Holland.
All could, however, be back at the Stadium of the Light, while Shane Ferguson is also in contention after being forced to withdraw from the Northern Ireland squad.
Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote have all returned from international duty unscathed, but Pardew may decide to drop one of Cisse and Ba in favour of derby specialist Shola Ameobi.
- Shola Ameobi has scored seven Premier League goals against Sunderland, by far his favourite opponent.
- Sunderland have fired in fewer shots on target than any other team in the top flight this season (11).
- Newcastle have scored a divisional-high 88% of their goals in the second half of league games this season.
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 25 Mannone
- 12 Celustka
- 16 O'Shea
- 5 Brown
- 2 Bardsley
- 7 Larsson
- 4 Ki
- 14 Colback
- 11 Johnson A
- 17 Altidore
- 9 Fletcher
Team taken from Sunderland vs Tottenham Hotspur (Barclays Premier League) on Saturday 7th December 2013
- 1 Krul
- 26 Debuchy
- 6 Williamson
- 2 Coloccini
- 3 Santon
- 4 Cabaye
- 24 Tiote
- 8 Anita
- 7 Sissoko
- 14 Remy
- 11 Gouffran
Team taken from Newcastle United vs Manchester United (Barclays Premier League) on Saturday 7th December 2013
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