Steve Bruce believes his Sunderland team are going into the Tyne-Wear derby in the best possible fashion.
The Black Cats were able to claim a 1-0 win over Aston Villa which moved them up to seventh in the league.
It means they are now unbeaten in seven and it was the first time in 14 months they had won without Darren Bent getting on the score sheet.
And Bruce feels the hard work on the training pitch is finally paying off.
"Going into the game, it was the first time we have been unbeaten in something like 10 years, so they can take a special pat on the back for that," said Bruce.
"They have played, very, very well without getting the results, but you keep ticking the points along and you see how tight it is.
"Everybody else finds it difficult too. We are creating enough chances, we are playing good football, and we are a threat to teams, as we have proved. We have just got to convert a few."