Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill is confident his side can triumph on their trip to Newcastle in Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby.
The Black Cats head to St James' Park desperate to avenge both their 5-1 drubbing there last season and their 1-0 home defeat in August, both of which occured under former boss Steve Bruce.
Alan Pardew's side are currently 10 points and three places better off in the Premier League table, but O'Neill and his players will leave Wearside believing they can return significantly closer.
The former Celtic manager told the Sunderland Echo: "I have experienced an awful lot of derbies, both as a player and as a manager, and in particular a very big derby in world football up in Glasgow between Celtic and Rangers.
"I know that to some Celtic supporters, winning the derby was the be-all and end-all - beating Rangers meant more than whether or not you won the league to a very small minority of supporters.
"I don't subscribe to that viewpoint, but I do understand the passion of the derby rivalry - and I know it will be exactly the same on Sunday.
"It's a massive game and it's one I am looking forward to. It's a ferocious derby and I'm sure it will be played at a great pace.
"We are away from home, which makes it difficult, but we have to be ready for it, and if we perform as strongly as we can, of course we can win it."