Sam Allardyce is very well aware the game against Sunderland is a big one, and certainly a third defeat on the trot would be little short of catastrophic for Newcastle.
But Big Sam is also concerned that some of his team donâ€™t freeze in the passion and emotion of it all, but that they come out all guns blazing from the very first whistle.
Big Sam – wants to ensure his team is completely ready for the game Saturday
Sam Allardyce said today:
“Everybody is aware of how much it means, so we have got to make sure that brings the best out of us.â€
“A local derby can, on occasions, make a player freeze in the passion and emotion of it and the nerves can perhaps get the better of him.â€
“We have got to make sure we guard against that and use the energy involved around this game as a positive energy to bring the best out of us.”
Neither Newcastle nor Sunderland have too many local players among its ranks, but the likes of Steve Harper and Steven Taylor have been getting the message across in the dressing room on Tyneside, and they have not been alone.
“The situation we are in at the moment, on the back of two defeats and going into a north-east derby, this is as big a game for the players as it is for the fans.â€
“The players know what it means to the fans, whether they have been in this country for a long time or have only just arrived.â€
“The players will already been telling the others who have only just arrived just how big this one is – and a lot of the staff here, who are Newcastle fans.â€
“They will be telling the players ‘Hey, come on, I have got to go out on Saturday night and I don’t want those Sunderland fans taking the mickey out of me.â€
We think Newcastle fans may be a little wary of this derby game, simply because they’re not sure which team will turn up on Saturday. Certainly as far as our league position goes we need all 3 points, and really need to steady the ship before the January transfer window. We expect some new players to be drafted into the squad then, and also some surplus players to leave.
A defeat is unthinkable, a draw is acceptable, but what we really need is all 3 points. Whether we can achieve that very much depends on which team turns up at the Stadium of Light early Saturday afternoon.