In less then 13 hours from now (at the time of writing) Newcastle will come up against bitter rivals Sunderland. With both teams seemingly embroiled in a relegation battle this could be the biggest derby in years. More than bragging rights are at stake this time and this match could potentially be worth millions of pounds in TV revenue. Our own relegation fears were eased last week as Papiss Cisse hit home a last minute winner against Fulham, but Sunderland were dragged closer to the relegation chasm as they suffered a defeat at the hands of Chelsea.
Newcastle come into this match on the back of a draw with Portuguese giants Benfica. And although Europa League dreams were put to an end the amazing show of solidarity from the Newcastle fans should provide all the inspiration Shola and co need to get the result tomorrow. After conceding what should have been a morale crushing goal in the 90th minute, Newcastle fans stood and applauded the teams European exploits which must have been inspirational to the players and the boss in the dugout. Must win just doesn't cut it in derby games, a win is essential and will all but secure Newcastle United's Premier League status.
Come kick off, the city of Newcastle will come to a halt and all eyes will be on the opening exchanges at St James' Park. Pubs will be filled with those who unfortunately don't have match tickets, TV's will be focused on whatever channel it is on and no doubt that PC's and the like will be streaming the match around the world. Even non-football fans will be tuned in or exposed to the match in someway. Newcastle is the lifeblood of the city in many ways and on derby day it really shows. Being a Geordie lad I know how important the match is and luckily I haven't had to taste defeat on too many occasions in my relatively young life. And long may that continue. Providing Pardew gets his tactics right and the team respond to the occasion, I think we'll win. Comfortably.
The team I would play is: Krul; Debuchy, Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara; Perch, Cabaye, Sissoko, Marveaux, Jonas; Cisse. That team if set-up correctly should be beating a Sunderland team that has many key players out, either via injury or through suspension.
On derby day eve, I rarely feel confident however this time, I do. My prediction is 3-0 Newcastle and not just because I have money on it! Whatever happens it will be a feisty affair and come 2pm there will be many talking points. Howay the lads.