By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Under-18s Coach Dave Watson has told his players not to get swept up in the emotion of the Tyne-Wear derby as Newcastle take on Sunderland at Academy level this weekend.
In September, the Black Cats ran out 4-2 winners at the Academy of Light but Watson has sensed a determination from the young Magpies to make up for that at Little Benton on Saturday (kick-off 11am).
However, he knows the team needs to maintain their discipline if they're to end a run of three successive defeats and gain some revenge against their local rivals.
"Derby games are always the same and all the kids are getting excited about the game," Watson told nufc.co.uk. "But at the end of the day it's about composure and controlling yourself in these games, and concentrating on the job that you're supposed to do.
"If we do that, I'm sure we'll be okay but sometimes the occasion gets the better of the kids instead of relaxing and concentrating on what they're meant to do."
Last weekend, Newcastle lost 3-0 to Manchester United having lost to Tottenham and Southampton in their previous two games, but Watson took some positives from the match.
"They gave us a good runaround to be fair but - and we keep going on about young kids - we had five under-16s playing so it was a great learning curve.
"The lads kept their discipline, the shape that we were trying to play and the things that we were trying to do and at the end of the day it boils down to the fact that Manchester United had better individuals in key positions who scored goals for them.
"We learnt an awful lot from the game but the lads did give a good account of themselves."
Saturday sees another young squad, although Alex Kitchen, Lewis Aird and Lee Desmond are all second-year scholars.
Midfielder Jake Fenton earns his first under-18 call-up while Tom Heardman is in line for a first start since returning from injury recently.
"Big Tom has been out for a long time and he gives us another dimension - all 6ft 4ins of him," Watson said. "He's a physical player and he gives us a different outlet.
"We had Rolando (Aarons) come back against Manchester United but he's had a little bit of a setback this week so he's back on the treatment table.
"But Lewis Aird has come back to playing and that's good to see so we've had one or two coming back." Admission on Saturday is free and all are welcome.
The squad is: Alex Kitchen, Tom Heardman, Lewis Aird, Lee Desmond, Freddie Woodman, Jonathyn Quinn, Macauley Booth, James Morgan, Adam Armstrong, Alex Gilliead, Jamie Sterry, Daniel Barlaser, Sam Busby, James Morgan, Ben Drennan, Jake Fenton.
On Friday evening nufcTV subscribers will be able to watch an in-depth interview with Dave Watson and England under-17 goalkeeper Freddie Woodman ahead of the match, as well as seeing under-18 action from the last few games. Click here to subscribe from 11p per day