Nicky Butt is still waiting to make his Newcastle-Sunderland derby debut â€“ and heâ€™s been at Newcastle almost 4 years now, and the 32-year-oldâ€™s frustration is magnified because his former team mate and captain at Manchester United, Roy Keane, is now of course manager of rivals Sunderland.
Since joining Newcastle in the summer of 2004, circumstances have been such that Nicky has yet to feature in North-East footballâ€™s most high-profile match-up.
Roy Keane – will have Sunderland very well prepared for Saturday
Unfortunately, like Alan Smith before him, Butt was booked for the fifth time this season on Saturday, when he fouled one of Portsmouthâ€™s best players on the day, Papa Bouba Dioup.
Nicky talked today about his disappointment at missing out again on the derby game:
â€œIâ€™m devastated,â€ â€œItâ€™s a game Iâ€™d have loved to play in, I havenâ€™t played in one yet in the four years Iâ€™ve been here.â€
â€œBeing close to Roy as well it was one I was really looking forward to but itâ€™s not to be, so Iâ€™m disappointed.â€
Keane and Butt have houses next door back in the North-West and they are always in regular communication. Nicky thinks this is a perfect situation for the outspoken Irishman and he expects Roy to rise to the occasion on Saturday.
â€œRoy will prepare his players well,â€ â€œItâ€™s the sort of occasion heâ€™ll relish being the sort of person he is.â€
â€œI only know him as a player, Iâ€™ve not worked under him as a manager, but as a person and a player he relishes the aggressive part of the game and Iâ€™m sure heâ€™ll be looking forward to it.â€
Nicky was asked if Roy Keane is the most driven person he has ever played with, and Butt didnâ€™t hesitate much as he quickly responded.
â€œYeah. Iâ€™ve played with a lot players who are driven but the way he stood up and spoke was different to anyone else â€œWhen you had someone like that in your team youâ€™re always happy.â€
â€œRoy was as intense in training as he was in games. Going off the lads Iâ€™ve spoken to who work under him as a player, heâ€™s the same as a manager. He was a manager for us on the pitch.
â€œHe always said in conversation that he wanted to go into coaching and management and be very successful.â€
This is a dangerous game for Newcastle and weâ€™re sure that Sunderland fancy themselves to be able to take all 3 points on Saturday. Thatâ€™s the very last thing we want to happen. A win would right the Newcastle ship before the international break and all Geordie supporters have to hope that Big Samâ€™s team can get the job done on Saturday.
But we can hardly be accused right now of being in top form.
Comments very welcome.