Alan Pardew has challenged Newcastle United to put on a show in the Tyne-Wear derby and end their recent hoodoo against Sunderland.
Newcastle welcome their fierce local rivals to St James' Park on Sunday looking to end a run of three derby defeats in a row, with the corresponding fixture in the past two seasons ending in 3-0 wins for Sunderland.
If Pardew's men are to buck that recent trend then Newcastle must quickly recover from two disappointing trips to north London in the last week that resulted in a 4-0 League Cup loss to Tottenham and 4-1 reverse at Arsenal in the Premier League.
Despite Newcastle's poor run in recent derbies, Pardew is nevertheless relishing this weekend's clash.
"It's a great occasion and the best players respond to that," he said.
"It's the sort of atmosphere you want to play in. We're looking forward to it.
"I hope we can put on a show which is fitting of the occasion, that the best team wins and the fans conduct themselves with class.
"We're in a great position in the league and if we win we take ourselves right in among the top six again. It's an emotional fixture, I know that and I've grasped that. We're desperate to win."
Newcastle full-back Daryl Janmaat returns from suspension, while goalkeeper Jak Alnwick - deputising for injured duo Tim Krul (ankle) and Rob Elliot - has been passed fit to play after injuring his shoulder against Tottenham.
Pardew also revealed that the quartet of Moussa Sissoko, Papiss Cisse, Steven Taylor and Cheick Tiote are all available. Jack Colback is set to face his former team for the first time since joining Newcastle in the close-season.
For Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet, the match represents the opportunity to make it a third win from as many derbies he has taken charge of.
To do so Sunderland will have to overcome their draw specialists tag, with last weekend's 1-1 draw with West Ham representing their 10th of the season and their fifth in the past six Premier League matches.
Midfielder Sebastian Larsson knows what it takes to win a derby and the Swede insists the players will go all out to give Sunderland supporters the bragging rights.
"It is one of those games where you feel a little nervous ahead of the game because you know what's at stake," he told the club's official website.
"But I've been lucky enough to come away as a winner a few times and it is a great, great feeling.
"That is the feeling you want again and we will do everything we can to replicate it and win the game."
Sunderland midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini and full-back Billy Jones have both returned to training following respective ankle and hamstring injuries, but it remains to be seen if they will play a part. Striker Steven Fletcher is pushing for a recall to the starting XI.comments