NEWCASTLE striker Shola Ameobi has long tormented rivals Sunderland – and there could be double trouble for Gus Poyet’s side tomorrow.
Only Jackie Milburn (11) has scored more Tyne-Wear derby goals than Ameobi, who has seven strikes to his name.
And his younger brother Sammy is keen to now take the fight to Sunderland.
Both Shola and Sammy are vying for places in Newcastle’s starting XI at St James’s Park tomorrow.
Sammy made only his third Premier League start for the Magpies in Tuesday night’s goalless draw against Norwich City.
And the 21-year-old impressed at Carrow Road, where he was handed a job on the left side of the attack in the absence through injury of Yoan Gouffran.
His elder sibling came off the bench, and the pair are in manager Alan Pardew’s thoughts ahead of the 150th meeting between the North East’s two great rivals.
Newcastle-born Sammy – who came off the bench in the Tynesiders’ 2-1 defeat to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in October – has grown up watching Shola play in derbies.
And he’s ready to play, if called upon.
“I’m a Newcastle fan from the city – and the derbies are massive,” Ameobi said. “I’ve seen what Shola’s done. It’s every kid’s dream, really, to play in these games.
“And I’d love the opportunity to play against Sunderland at the weekend.”
First-team opportunities have been few and far between for Sammy so far this season.
Having been patient, he wants to seize every chance that comes his way with both hands.
“I just want to show that I’ve grown up and can play regular football,” said the England Under-21 international. “Hopefully, I’ll continue to bring good performances to the team and progress from here.
“I’ve been very patient. It’s been three or four months since I last played.
“I was grateful to get the opportunity, and I made the most of it. Hopefully, I’ll get more.”
An energetic and enterprising Newcastle did everything but score at Carrow Road.
Loic Remy, dismissed for clashing with Bradley Johnson, struck the woodwork twice, and Hatem Ben Arfa, set to start the derby, put a glorious chance from an Ameobi pull-back over John Ruddy’s goal.
United – who have not beaten Sunderland since August 2011 – now face a rejuvenated team who are heading to Wembley for the Capital One Cup final.
Reflecting on the Norwich game, Ameobi said: “It was a real shame. We had so many opportunities, especially in the first-half.
“We kept knocking and knocking, but just couldn’t put it away. We’ll take the point, and kick on to the weekend.”
Newcastle will be without the suspended Remy, their 11-goal leading scorer.
“That’s the way the game goes sometimes,” added Ameobi. “He’ll be missed.
“He’s a great player. We’ll just have to get on with it and keep working hard. Hopefully, we can get a good result.”
* Don’t miss tomorrow’s derby special Football Echo – it’s online from around 7pm with the biggest and best coverage of the big day