Danny Simpson

A few friendships will be going right out of the window for 90 minutes when we play Sunderland on Sunday.

I know Phil Bardsley, Kieron Richardson, Frazier Campbell (who won't be playing) and Danny Wellbeck from my Man United days, Titus Bramble from out and about in Manchester when he played for Wigan and Jordan Henderson from my loan spell at Sunderland. He was still coming through then, but trained with us a few times. And a few staff remain at the Stadium of Light from when I was there too.

I had a bit of banter with some of them on Friday night and sent a few texts back and forth, but I'm writing this on Saturday, the day before the game, and the banter has stopped. It's serious now.

Hopefully I'll be able to hand out some more stick to them after the game. When we beat them 5-1 in October, they were all obviously hugely disappointed and I didn't want to rub it in their face, to be honest. I texted Phil Bardsley, because I thought he was probably their best player that day, but I left them to lick their wounds apart from that.

And make no mistake, this is a new game and a chance for them to wipe the slate clean, so we can't rest on the laurels of the last derby.

We think we can beat anyone on our day, if we're firing in all cylinders and play how we can play. We know the importance of this match and we've got to be ready for it because it's going to be huge.

Another massive incentive for both sides is the FA Cup defeats both of us suffered last weekend, us to Stevenage and them to Notts County. We went away and didn't perform, and they were at home and played below par too, so all 22 players on the pitch will want to bounce back and put things right. That's certainly what we're hoping to do.

It's important, though, to take a break from the constant preparation and pressure that goes with a Tyne-Wear derby so on Tuesday I went to see the rapper Drake play a concert in Manchester. I've been listening to him for a few years now and he's one of my favourite artists. The stuff he says isn't fake, it's real stuff.

I've always liked him and I jumped at the chance to go and watch him. I really enjoyed it. It's one of the best concerts I've been to, and I've been with quite a few. Now it's our turn to put on a good show on Sunday.