Premier League

Pardew anticipates tight derby

Newcastle boss expecting a tough test against Sunderland

Alan Pardew: Newcastle manager hoping for derby-day success over Sunderland on Sunday

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Alan Pardew admits it will be difficult to replicate Newcastle's performance against Sunderland in 2010 at St James' Park on Sunday.

It will be the first time Pardew has taken charge of the side at home against Sunderland, as he was appointed shortly after the 5-1 derby win in October 2010.

Chris Hughton was in charge on that occasion, with Steve Bruce in the away dugout for the visitors.

The two sides meet in the Tyne-Wear derby, with the Black Cats aiming for their first win over their arch-rivals in over three years.

Despite succumbing to a 4-0 defeat at West Brom last week, new Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has turned around his side's fortunes.

They are now in ninth place and would go just seven points behind Newcastle with a win on Sunday.

Pardew insists that he is desperate to retain the bragging rights in the North East, but accepts the 5-1 win may never be surpassed.

Fantastic

He said: "It was a fantastic result, but we are never going to match that.

"But what we can hope for us that the performance level will be the same.

"The intensity and the feeling and the way they approached that game under Chris is very much what we want to copy."

Newcastle have won most of their points at home this season but have suffered from a dip in form over recent weeks.

They threw away a two-goal lead at home to Wolves last week after being hammered 5-0 by Tottenham a week earlier.

Pardew admits that he is concerned by the recent results and believes his side's form must improve immediately.

Form

He said: "We aren't firing on all cylinders at the moment, I think our fans know that.

"We got over the line against Villa when it was a bit tight, we didn't play very well at Tottenham and played well for 45 minutes against Wolves.

"We need to come into some form, really, if we are going to challenge the top half of the division, and I am looking to do that on Sunday.

Despite a slight drop in recent results, the Magpies remain perfectly poised to clinch a place in Europe at the end of the campaign.

They are in sixth place and just three points behind Chelsea and Arsenal in the battle for the final Champions League place.

But Pardew insists that he is not setting a target on Europe and explained that he has been fully focused on Sunday's derby.

He said: "For us, it's not really a focus. This week is, everywhere we have been, it's been about the derby and we have got to get this out of the way and make sure we come away with credit in terms of our performance and the result.

"It won't define our season. We are in a good position regardless of winning or losing - but we want to win."