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No old pals' act for N'Diaye

by Stuart Vose

Alfred ready to face countrymen.

Alfred N’Diaye will be putting friendships firmly to one side when he plunges into the Tyne-Wear derby for the first time this weekend.

The French midfielder is set to face a sizeable contigent of his countrymen at St James’ Park in a high noon kick-off on Sunday.

There’s been something of a Gallic revolution on Tyneside in recent months with a number of players heading over the English Channel to join the Magpies’ ranks.

N’Diaye could face several of his footballing friends this weekend, including defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and midfielder Moussa Sissoko.

But those friendships will be firmly ignored – on both sides – from the first whistle until the moment the latest derby clash is brought to a close.

“I have a lot of friends in the [Newcastle] team, but when we play, they are not my friends, they are my enemy,” N’Diaye said.

“We play to win, we don’t joke. After the game, maybe, but we play to win during the game. I will do everything to try to win.”

N’Diaye, 23, is no stranger to derby action having experienced one of Turkey’s hottest rivalries during his time with Bursaspor, from whom he joined Sunderland in January.

The Green-Whites have a fierce rivalry with Besiktas, and now Sunderland’s number four is looking forward to experiencing an English derby which he’s already heard plenty about.

“They were very hard games [against Besiktas]; a fight,” he said. “I liked the games. For me, football is good with passion and emotion.

“This is a big game. When I came in January, everyone spoke of this game.

“I’m ready and happy.”