It's party Tyne

Safety means a Newcastle-Sunderland sizzler

Viduka & Owen: starting to click

I can't see either of these teams being dragged back into the relegation scrap, so both can play with freedom and we should get an open and entertaining local derby.

Newcastle v Sunderland
1pm, Sunday, Sky Sports 1

"Sunderland's season can be viewed as a success because with squad they've got, survival was all they could really hope for."

Matt Le Tissier

Quotes of the week

A month ago this might have been a nervous, cagey affair but now that neither team need the points to stay up I'm expecting this to be an attacking game - and exactly the sort of match you'd expect from Newcastle under Kevin Keegan.

Hopefully Roy Keane will go to St James' Park with a similarly positive attitude and we'll get a cracking game.

I thought Sunderland's poor away from might cost them dearly this season, but they've managed to pull a couple of wins out of the bag at the right time and they're home and dry as far as I can see.

Their season can be viewed as a success because with squad they've got, survival was all they could really hope for. Maybe if they strengthen in the summer they can look at reaching mid-table next season, but as far as Roy Keane's concerned it's a job well done.

Looking to the future, Keane knows he needs to find somebody who can hit double figures in terms of goals in a season. Their top scorer is Kenwyne Jones with seven and they need to improve on that. They'll need to add another four top Premier League/international players to avoid struggling again next year.

The next goal for everybody associated at Sunderland this season will be to finish above their bitter rivals and I'm sure that's in everybody's minds going into this match on Sunday.

The North-East derby is always a lively occasion, but Sunderland will be striving to win it and give their fans the bragging rights for a few months over the summer.


It's not been such a good season for Newcastle, but it's been very tough for the players with all the upheaval at the club.

It took Keegan a fair amount of time to sort things out after Sam Allardyce's departure, but it looks like he's turned things around at long last.

He's done really well to find a system that accommodates Mark Viduka, Obafemi Martins and Michael Owen, who are three very talented players.

People questioned whether all of them could fit into the same side, but Kevin's started to use Owen a little bit deeper - something he's never really done before - and he seems to be revelling in it.

He'd scored four goals in four games before last weekend's goalless draw with Portsmouth and all of them have been getting on the scoresheet of late, which has seen them banish any lingering relegation fears.

Kevin doesn't need me to point out that he needs to strengthen the defence this summer. They've spent so much money on defenders over the last few years, I'm starting to wonder if they'll ever get it right.

Their forward line is as good as they could hope for and James Milner has come out of this season with plenty of credit. But Kevin needs to get a bit more out of the likes of Damien Duff, or else cash in on him over the summer.

I think Keegan has got things under control and he has the charisma to take the club forward. I don't think they'll be involved in the relegation scrap next season.

Whether or not he can win them trophies remains to be seen but I believe he's the right man for that job and I think he'll lead his team to an entertaining victory on Sunday.

Le Tiss Predicts

HOME WIN - I see this being a nice open and attacking game with Newcastle coming out as winners; I simply can't see Sunderland winning three away games in a row. The quality of Newcastle's forwards will take them to a 3-1 win.

Matt's Main Man

MICHAEL OWEN - He's the man in form. He's adapted to playing in this deeper position quite quickly and I think he's revelling in the responsibility of being the team captain.