HomeNewcastle aware of importance of Sunderland clash - Howe

Newcastle aware of importance of Sunderland clash – Howe

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Newcastle’s local contingent have spoken to the squad to outline the importance of tomorrow’s derby clash at bitter rivals Sunderland.

The clubs have not met since 2016 but go head to head at the Stadium of Light in the FA Cup third round.

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Newcastle have several Geordies in the squad – Sean Longstaff, Dan Burn and Paul Dummett to name three – and they have been vocal in readying the other players for what will be a white hot atmosphere on Wearside.

Head coach Eddie Howe said: “When the draw was made, I gave the Geordies the chance to speak about the fixture. Since then, they have been playing a role behind the scenes, it has not necessarily been used by me.

“The players know what it means to everybody but sometimes you can overkill that so it’s been a case of how are we going to play? How are we going to execute our plan?

“We’re keen to turn our form around. We’re focusing on our performance and making it the best we can.”

Newcastle have not beaten Sunderland since 2011 – a run of nine games – but will go into the game as overwhelming favourites given most of their injured players are now back.

Howe, though, is wary of Michael Beale’s men, who are sixth in the Championship and unbeaten in three games.

He added: “It is our opportunity to progress in the cup competition. We have to individually be at our best levels. Sunderland are a very good team, full of young and bright prospects.

“We do not underestimate the challenge; we have given them full respect in our preparation. But, of course, it is going to be about what we can do and how we can play and execute our plan.”

Striker Callum Wilson has been ruled out due to a calf injury and Kieran Trippier will face a fitness test on a groin problem.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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