By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Newcastle United entertain Sunderland in the first Tyne-Wear derby of the season on Sunday at St. James' Park (1.30pm kick-off).
The Magpies go into the match on the back of a disappointing 4-0 Capital One Cup defeat at Tottenham Hotspur, while the Black Cats drew 1-1 with West Ham in league action last time out.
When these sides met last term, the local bragging rights went to Wearside, as Sunderland triumphed 2-1 at the Stadium of Light before a 3-0 victory at St. James' Park.
Follow Sunday's fixture right here on nufc.co.uk for on-the-whistle half-time and full-time reports and exclusive post-match reaction, or live updates on Twitter at @NUFC.
Sunday's match is the 151st Tyne-Wear derby and the 139th in the league. In the Premier League era, United have won nine and drawn nine of the meetings, with Sunderland triumphing on six occasions. Newcastle have only failed to score in two of the 24 games - the last two at St. James' Park.
This fixture has sold out.
1st February, 2014 - Newcastle 0 Sunderland 3 (Borini pen 19, Johnson 23, Colback 80)
Newcastle (4-3-3): Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor, Davide Santon (Paul Dummett 64); Vurnon Anita (Sylvain Marveaux 74), Moussa Sissoko, Cheick Tiote; Hatem Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi (Luuk de Jong 46)
Sunderland (4-3-3): Vito Mannone; Phil Bardsley, John O'Shea, Wes Brown, Marcos Alonso; Liam Bridcutt, Jack Colback, Ki Sung-Yueng; Fabio Borini (Craig Gardner 89), Jozy Altidore, Adam Johnson (Sebastian Larsson 77)
FULL RECORD v SUNDERLAND
P150 W53 D48 L49 F222 A222
(Last six games - all competitions)
Sunderland - DDLDDD
Newcastle - LLWDLW
Newcastle (v Tottenham, Capital One Cup): Jak Alnwick; Paul Dummett, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Massadio Haidara; Moussa Sissoko (Vurnon Anita 73), Jack Colback; Remy Cabella (Haris Vuckic 80), Ayoze Perez, Yoan Gouffran; Emmanuel Riviere (Adam Armstrong 60)
Not used: Freddie Woodman, Lubomir Satka, Remie Streete, Callum Roberts
Sunderland (v West Ham, Premier League): Costel Pantilimon; Santiago Vergini, John O'Shea, Wes Brown, Anthony Reveillere; Lee Cattermole; Adam Johnson (Ricky Alvarez 70), Sebastian Larsson, Jordi Gomez, Connor Wickham; Jozy Altidore (Steven Fletcher 62)
Not used: Vito Mannone, Sebastian Coates, Jack Rodwell, Will Buckley
Newcastle - Papiss Cisse (7)
Sunderland - Steven Fletcher (4)
Newcastle - Defender Steven Taylor, midfielder Cheick Tiote, winger Sammy Ameobi and seven-goal leading scorer Papiss Cisse are all expected to be fit after missing Wednesday's trip to Tottenham Hotspur through injury. Goalkeeer Jak Alnwck has also been passed fit following a shoulder complaint, manager Alan Pardew has confirmed. Rob Elliot (thigh), Tim Krul (ankle), Rolando Aarons (hamstring), Gabriel Obertan (thigh), Siem de Jong (thigh) and Ryan Taylor (knee) remain sidelined.
Sunderland - Former Magpies loanee Patrick van Aanholt is missing as he continues to recover from a dislocated shoulder, and he is joined on the treatment table by fellow full-back Billy Jones, who has a hamstring injury. Italian international forward Emanuele Giaccherini is a doubt with an ankle complaint.
A WORD FROM BOTH CAMPS
Alan Pardew, Newcastle manager: "I've been lucky enough to play in cup finals and things like that but the electricity of this game is something you have to be at to appreciate, and I'm looking forward to experiencing that again. The perception of the season could change. If Sunderland win then they've had a good first half of the season and if we win then we've had a really good first half. Points-wise it's still three points, and we must not get away from that. We are in a great position in the league and if we win then we can take ourselves right in amongst the top six again."
Gus Poyet, Sunderland manager: "Scoring the first goal is always key because if you get the first goal the other team then has to think about coming back, having to show urgency that will give you opportunities and space. The longer the game stays goalless the more tense it will become and it'll get more difficult, so I think it comes down to experience with players knowing how to approach the game and how to deliver."
Anthony Taylor (Manchester): 2014/15 record - 11 games, 51 yellow cards, 3 red cards
PLAYED FOR BOTH TEAMS
Stan Anderson, Paul Bracewell, Michael Bridges, Steven Caldwell, Michael Chopra, Lee Clark, Jeff Clarke, Robbie Elliott, Howard Gayle, Tommy Gibb, Shay Given, Ron Guthrie, Mick Harford, David Kelly, Bob Moncur, Bryan 'Pop' Robson, Danny Simpson, Colin Suggett, Barry Venison, Chris Waddle, David Young
FANCY A FLUTTER?
To find the best odds for Sunday's match, thanks to our official betting partner 138.com, click here.
DID YOU KNOW?
This season, when the opposition have scored first, Sunderland have never won.