DANNY Simpson might still have a lot of friends at Sunderland.
But the Newcastle defender knows there will be no love lost on the pitch, or in the stands, at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
Simpson – who had a loan spell at the Stadium of Light – is relishing playing in Wear-Tyne derby at his former home.
What’s more, Simpson’s confident Newcastle can do the double over their fierce rivals.
Simpson – who insists the boo boys won’t bother him – is upbeat about the return, despite the Magpies going into the fixture on the back of a demoralising FA Cup third-round defeat to Stevenage,
“I’m looking forward to it – I have a lot of friends at Sunderland,” said Simpson.
“If I get some stick, I’ll relish that. Hopefully, we can do well in the fixture and win the game.
“They’ll want to get their revenge because of what happened at our place earlier in the season, but we haven’t been too bad away from home.”
Chris Hughton – who brought Simpson to Newcastle last season – was at the helm for the last derby.
While his dismissal saddened Simpson and his colleagues, the right-back insists his successor, Alan Pardew, is building on the sound foundations laid by Hughton.
United go into the fixture on the back of successive Premier League wins, having put six goals past West Ham United and Wigan Athletic without reply.
“With the new manager here, he’s brought some confidence, and we like his ideas,” said Simpson.
“We work so hard in training, I think we can do well this season.
“Everybody has took to his ideas, and it’s showing on the pitch now. It’s come round quickly, and obviously, it’s going to be a tough game for us.”
H Newcastle have been linked with a possible move for Cardiff striker Jay Bothroyd.
The 28-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and has turned down a new deal with the Bluebirds.