Stand-in skipper previews first home derby.
Sunderland defender John O’Shea is looking forward to experiencing his first Wear-Tyne derby with Newcastle on Sunday.
The former Manchester United man missed last season’s encounter at the Stadium of Light through injury but did feature in the 1-1 draw on Tyneside back in March.
Form, along with everything else, goes out the window...there’s two evenly matched teams
- John O'Shea
“These are the big games you want to play in,” said O'Shea, who is likely to captain the Black Cats in Lee Cattermole's absence.
“I was involved last year at St James’ Park and it was an amazing game where we should really have held on.
“The atmosphere was fantastic and fingers crossed my first home derby will be special too.”
The anticipation is building in both camps ahead of the game, which will be the 146th meeting between the two teams in all competitions.
“I’ve met fans around the place and they are buzzing for the game,” he said. “You can see how passionate people are.
“I’ve played in a lot of derby games and I wouldn’t say you ever get used to it because they are all one-off matches.
“You really feel you have to give everything you’ve got.”
The sides are separated by only two points going into Sunday’s clash with Sunderland still holding a game in hand.
And O’Shea feels there’s little to choose between the sides with derbies often notoriously unpredictable.
“Form, along with everything else, goes out the window,” he said. “There’s two evenly matched teams.
“Hopefully we can come out with a win and go ahead of them with a game in hand, but we know they have some very dangerous players so we will have to be on our guard.”