Preview: Will Marty Be Partying All Over The Sports Direct Arena?
The time has finally come. Time to preview the impending Tyne-Wear derby and basically wrap up all our own previewing to the weekends game. What more can we say really? Have a read, get yourself worked up, get yourself ready, because it's about to kick-off.
Here's the up to date(ish) team news, predictions, music, betting, classic games and probably a bit more to get you right up for it...
Sunderland Team News
Phil Bardsley's calf ‘felt really tight' in the aftermath of the West Brom game, forcing him to miss Scotland's friendly with Slovenia. Should Bardsley not make it then Craig Gardner or John O'Shea will surely deputise - my preference lying with the former after his performance against Manchester City at right-back, even if it is at the sacrifice of a goalscoring threat in midfield. Certainly there's decisions to be made.
David Vaughan returned to action in midweek for Wales. He was his neat and tidy self before being replaced so should Gardner revert to right-back then a decision will have to be made between Vaughan and Jack Colback for a central midfield place.
Keiren Westwood is also a doubt (sore wrist, make your own jokes) so we may see Craig Gordon in a matchday squad for the first time since April.
Outside of that , Martin O'Neill has to decide whether or not to go with two up front or just Sessegnon as a lone striker. Personally I'd rather we went with Fraizer Campbell up front alongside the man from Benin (not France).
Nicklas Bendtner is looking more and more doubtful for the game by the minute, but should be given the OK to occupy the subs bench.
We've all got our fingers crossed that last week's shellacking at the hands of West Bromwich Albion was a one off, and not the start of something truly terrible.
Newcastle Team News
Papiss Cisse was withdrawn from the Senegal squad this week; call it precaution, mind-games; fair chance is he will play, and partner striker Demba Ba up front, keeping our eternal nemesis Shola Ameobi (himself a doubt with a fever) on the bench, hopefully to remain unused.
Elsewhere for the Mags, Ryan Taylor should start on the right hand side of midfield. This should be of benefit to us as with him and Danny Simpson being all right foot, James McClean could do some serious damage.
Actually I'm not goign to talk about that too much. Chris Weatherspoon did some excellent tactical analysis earlier in the week, so I'll point you in the direction of that - CLICKY
Steven Taylor, Sylvain Marveaux, Leon Best and Sammy Ameobi remain long-term injury concerns, whilst Hatem Ben Arfa still patiently waits for a run of starts, meaning the Mags are likely to be unchanged from the draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
SAFC: Mignolet; Gardner, Turner, O'Shea, Richardson; Larsson, Cattermole, Colback, McClean; Sessegnon; Campbell
NUFC: Krul; Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon; Taylor, Tiote, Cabaye, Gutierrez; Ba, Cisse
Our most recent of derby wins was not just about the result, but the game itself was an absolute cracker. After Shola Ameobi had pegged back Djibril Cisse's opener, Newcastle thought it safe to give Kieran Richardson a chance from a set-piece, thankfully El Hadji Diouf who was in close attendance didn't take it or we might not even be talking about it!
In fact, why not relive that classic moment right here in video format...
Get Rich Quick
Seeing as the Fraizer Campbell 5/1 to score at any time offer has now expired, I'll have to shop around a bit.
Seb Larsson has been a bit quiet of late, but scored twice in midweek to help Sweden to a 3-1 victory. Paddy Power has him chalked up at 16/1 for the first goal and 6/1 any time.
This is Martin O'Neill's first derby as Sunderland manager and in his first game against Blackburn we fell behind at half-time before securing all three points. Newcastle to win at half-time/Sunderland to win at full-time is a whopping 40/1 with Coral.
Song For Whoever
The song this week comes from Glen Sayer on Twitter (@Sayer85) who suggests Red War by Probot. It's a bit angry, a bit fighty, and sure to leave everyone pretty bloody charged up...
"Red war will fall on my enemies".... I'm sure it will!
Sunderland have not won away to Newcastle since 2000, but we are unbeaten at the Sports Direct Arena so hopefully we can rectify the former whilst retaining the latter. Newcastle 1-2 Sunderland. It's about time it happened again isn't it?
Ha'way The Lads!