Newcastle United v Sunderland: Everything you need to know ahead of the Tyne-Wear derby

Sunderland players celebrate the last derby win

Sunderland players celebrate the last derby win

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Sam Allardyce is busy preparing his Sunderland side for the biggest Tyne-Wear derby in a generation.

Sunderland, who have a free weekend coming up, play relegation rivals Newcastle at St James's Park on Sunday, March 20 (1.30pm kick-off) with both sides battling to stay in the Premier League.

We kicked-off our comprehensive derby coverage today as the countdown begins ahead of the hotly-anticipated fixture.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of the crunch fixture:

This will be the 156th meeting between the teams. Sunderland have won 53 so far, with Newcastle United also coming out on top 53 times.

Last season Sunderland secured their 7th home and away double against Newcastle, and second in a row. NUFC achieved the feat nine times.

Sunderland have scored 231 goals against Newcastle, in what has historically been a tight fixture.

Sunderland AFC secured their record-breaking sixth successive win against Newcastle in October and a ninth game unbeaten.

Sam Allardyce is the first person to manage both Sunderland and Newcastle United. He had an eight-month spell in charge at St James’s Park.

Ex-Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback crossed the Wear-Tyne divide in the summer of 2014 and he played in both fixtures last season.

Sunderland signed former Newcastle United keeper Steve Harper in January, the stopper played almost 200 times for Newcastle.

Both Sunderland and Newcastle are deep in relegation trouble, with three teams from the bottom four likely to go down this season with Aston Villa looking doomed.

George Holley is SAFC’s top scorer in the fixture, with 15 goals, while NUFC’s Jackie Milburn is their top marksman, with 11.

There have been six red cards in the last 11 derbies, with Fabricio Coloccini’s red at the Stadium of Light in October the latest.