STEVE Bruce admits Sunderland’s 5-1 hammering at Newcastle in October probably helped make their young players stronger.
Bruce says his young side was naive when they were thumped on Halloween.
But they have gone on to rally to sixth in the Barclays Premier League heading into Sunday’s rematch.
Bruce said: “We were a young team (in the last game) and a bit naive.
“When you have a young team that can happen.
“They will have learned from it and got better from it. I’m convinced they have.
“The experience of that day will certainly help them for Sunday, and for ever more.”
This video interview with Bruce also features his reaction to news that former Labour leadership candidate is to take a role at the club.