After a season`s break from the arse-twitchingly horrible sensation of the derby, Saturday seems to have come round rather quickly. Fresh from our 4-1 shafting against Pompey, it`s time to rally the troops and get the keys out as we get to lock horns with the John Humble fan club again.
The Pompey game was hardly the ideal way to launch ourselves into a game considered the Mackem Cup Final. As the buses wind their way down to Wearside, the usual vitriol, rocks and “2-1” signs will only reinforce just how seriously they take the derby, especially given the fact it`s now 27 years since Stan Cummins scored the winner against them. Since then we`ve seen Wham! disband, the Berlin Wall crumble and found the Ripper Hoaxer, meaning an entire generation of SAFC fans have yet to see a home victory against Newcastle. There is no doubting that Keane will have them as up for this one as their fans.
Vital Quotes: To follow
sunderland Team News:
Injury-wise, the mackems` midweek reserve game saw Edwards, Cole and Whiteheads make a long awaited appearances for them. Whether they have the fitness to compete in a derby game remains to be seen. Dwight Yorke remains sidelined with a calf problem while Graham Kavanagh has returned from a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday. Paul McShane is available after suspension but Greg Halford is still banned.
Anticipated line up could be: Gordon, Nosworthy, Higginbotham, McShane, Harte, Stokes, Miller, Etuhu, Leadbitter, Murphy, Jones.
Subs: Edwards, Whitehead, Chopra, Collins, Ward
Keane commented after the Citeh loss:
‘I don’t feel hard done by. We didn’t deserve anything. I don’t feel we did enough to get anything out of the game. I don’t think their keeper had too many saves to make, did he? They produced that one bit of quality and they scored.’
Player to watch: Kenwyne Jones
Key man for the mackems remains Kenwyne Jones. He took West Ham apart a few weeks back and has been getting pretty good reviews. He didn`t do much against Citeh however on Monday.
Newcastle Team News:
For us there are plenty of tough decisions to be made. One of them isn`t in goal however, with Harper certain to start with Shay out for three weeks. The defence is far and away our key area. Sam has to select from Beye, Faye, Cacapa, Taylor, Rozenhal and Enrique to fill his back four, with the Brazilian and Taylor short on confidence following their combined horror show v Portsmouth.
Midfield sees Butt suspended sadly, meaning a clearer picture for Barton and Geremi to boss the middle. Expect Smith to start with the Cameroonian on the right, Milner on the left and N`Zogbia on the bench. Up front the suspicion is that the Dook and Owen will start, with Oba on the bench.
Player to watch: Michael Owen
Key man will have to be Michael Owen. He can put us out of sight if he gets service worthy of the name.
Match Facts & Stats
Previous derby results on Wierdside:
2005/06 won 4-1 Chopra, Shearer(pen), N’Zogbia, Luque
2002/03 won 1-0 Solano
2001/02 won 1-0 Dabizas
2000/01 drew 1-1 A.O’Brien
1999/00 drew 2-2 Domi, Helder
1996/97 won 2-1 Beardsley, Ferdinand
1992/93 won 2-1 OG, L.O’Brien
1991/92 drew 1-1 L.O’Brien
1989/90 drew 0-0 (playoffs)
1989/90 drew 0-0
1984/85 drew 0-0
1979/80 lost 0-1
Prediction – a drab 1-1.
England game – two week break