Kilbane keen on derby return

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OUT-OF-FAVOUR Sunderland winger Kevin Kilbane is hoping to win a recall to the squad for Saturday's crucial Tyne-Wear derby.

The Republic of Ireland international has been frozen out of things at the Stadium of Light since the opening day of the season draw at Blackburn.

The 25-year-old has impressed in the reserves lately and he is hoping that his improved form will win him a return at St James' Park.

Black Cats boss Peter Reid has backed the former West Brom man to come back stronger for Sunderland and Kilbane is urging his manager to give him the chance.

"Of course I would love to play in Saturday's game and maybe my experience could help," Kilbane told the club's official website.

"It's a massive game, we all know that, and the fact that I have played in it before, coupled with my experience of big games for my country, could be a benefit.

"I don't know what the manager has in mind and at the minute - I'm just trying to work hard and force my way back in.

"Things didn't go well for us against Fulham but that's history now. The lads have got to believe that we can beat Newcastle and that it will kick-start our season.

"I suppose any win over Newcastle is good for Sunderland but it will count for little in Saturday's Premiership game.

"The fact that they are in the Ukraine tomorrow night could favour us. They'll face a long journey back and then straight away have to begin preparations for Saturday's game.

"I'm one of a few players currently in the reserves who is hoping to feature at St James' Park but it's up to the manager."