By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Alan Pardew believes the Tyne-Wear derby is a fixture based around "great players" and insists there will be plenty of those on show for both sides come kick-off on Sunday.
Newcastle make the short journey to the Stadium of Light for a 1.30pm kick-off against Sunderland, with not only three Premier Leaue points at stake but also local bragging rights.
And while United can boast the likes of Demba Ba, Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye and Fabricio Coloccini among their ranks, boss Pardew pointed out that the Black Cats possess significant quality themselves in players such as Steven Fletcher, Adam Johnson and Craig Gardner.
"This game is about great players," said Pardew.
"It's about heroes. For Sunderland it may be Fletcher or Gardner getting the headlines, and for us it could be Demba Ba or Cabaye.
"It's those guys who we want to see on the back pages.
"It's the strongest Sunderland side I've faced since I've been manager, and they've got a few players who could get in our team.
"They have some outstanding individuals - Fletcher the pick of them at the minute, as he seems to be getting goals from everywhere.
"We are aware of him and they have forged an outstanding team unit. Make no mistake, this is a difficult game for us and we won't be taking it lightly."
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