Martin O’Neill says he will try to build a derby record that Sunderland fans can be proud of, writes Graeme Anderson.
The Black Cats manager goes into his first home derby as Black Cats’ boss today having conjured a superb performance from his players against Newcastle at St James’s Park earlier this year.
Now he wants to bring victories to a Sunderland fanbase starved of them for decades.
Sunderland have won only one home derby this century – the one secured by Kieran Richardson’s stunning free-kick goal in 2008.
Their last home success before that was in 1980 and, in the last 28 meetings, Sunderland have won just three times.
It’s a miserable record, but one which O’Neill is determined to improve in his time in charge, having had excellent derby records in charge of both Celtic and Aston Villa.
He told the Football Echo: “We will try and change things.
“And maybe hopefully in 10 years time people will be talking about how many derbies Sunderland have won or how many Newcastle have lost.
“I’ve no idea why Sunderland’s derby record in recent times has been poor – sometimes in football you just get bad runs against certain teams for no obvious reason.
“But those derbies have been before my time and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about them.
“I can’t do anything about the derbies gone, but I can look to do something about the derbies to come.
“You can’t change history overnight but you can always make a start, and we want to start doing that this weekend.”