Echo Jury: Fans are optimistic ahead of Sunderland’s clash with the Mags

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AFTER Di Canio’s baptism of fire at Stamford Bridge last weekend it’s out of the frying pan into the fire for the Tyne-Wear derby, writes Andy MacDonald.

There were positive signs of improvement against Chelsea and I like the way Di Canio conducts himself in interviews and the philosophy I think he’s trying to instil in the squad.

The proof is in the pudding, though, and hopefully when the final whistle is blown this season we are still part of the top division.

After the season we have had, an away win at St James’s would go a long way to making up for some of what we have had to put up with. It’s been a while since we scored a victory over our brethren from up the road, but I can’t remember a bigger derby than this.

A win for us could be the confidence boost that helps us to stay up and, to be honest, any win at the minute would be massive.

That being said, it won’t be an easy match. Recent derbies have been scrappy and not the easiest games to watch.

Hopefully the Mags’ European game against Benfica will help us as we have played less football then them lately and should be fresher.

We need all the lads to be at their best for the full game as we have tended to fade in recent games towards the end.

I’m sure the manager will have the lads well up for this game. I’m staying optimistic that the Di Canio effect will get us the win.

Prediction: Newcastle 1 Sunderland 2.

To read the rest of the Echo Jury, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.