Preview: Sunderland v Newcastle

by Stuart Vose

A look ahead to Sunday's Wear-Tyne derby.

The anticipation continues to build ahead of the 146th north-east derby between Sunderland and Newcastle United on Sunday.

Alan Pardew’s side arrive on Wearside with both outfits having enjoyed solid starts to the new campaign.

Sunderland have lost just one of their first eight games in all competitions and currently lie 13th in the Barclays Premier League with seven points from six games.

Tenth-placed Newcastle, meanwhile, have two points more but have played a game less than the Black Cats.

Sunday’s game will be Martin O’Neill’s 16th meeting with Newcastle as a manager and his second derby as Sunderland boss.

The previous meeting between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw on Tyneside, with Nicklas Bendtner opening the scoring before substitute Shola Ameobi equalised.

Both sides have found the back of the net in eight of the last 10 derbies, and there hasn’t been a goalless draw in this fixture since 1990.

And both Sunderland and Newcastle boast strikers in form.

Steven Fletcher has scored five goals in as many league appearances for the Black Cats following his move from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Meanwhile Magpies frontman Demba Ba has netted on six occasions having played two more league games than the Scottish international.

O’Neill’s men are looking for their first win over Newcastle at the Stadium of Light since 2008, when Djibril Cisse and Kieran Richardson scored in a 2-1 victory.