DERBY goal hero Kieran Richardson insists Sunderland’s fresh faces won’t be overawed at facing Newcastle United a second time.
Richardson is well-versed in the demands of the Wear-Tyne derby after experiencing both the highs and lows of the fixture in his four outings against the Magpies.
The 26-year-old became the first Sunderland player in 28 years to score a winning goal against Newcastle on Wearside when the two teams last met at the Stadium of Light two years ago.
But he also suffered the humiliation of derby embarrassment on Halloween after coming on as a substitute in Sunderland’s 5-1 thrashing on Tyneside in October.
Only three members of the Black Cats side that day had featured in a Wear-Tyne tussle previously compared to six in the Newcastle starting XI.
Richardson believes that was a factor in the defeat although he is confident Sunderland are ready to make amends in Sunday’s clash.
“Obviously the last time we played them, people didn’t turn up,” Richardson told the Echo.
“Some of the lads who hadn’t been at the club long didn’t know how much it meant to the fans.
“Now they know. after the backlash. Come Sunday, everyone better be on it.
“It’s a massive game on Sunday. For us to beat Newcastle, everyone has to be on it on the day.
“Hopefully on Sunday, everyone can be because it’s a massive day for the club.
“I know what it feels like to win, it’s a special moment for everyone. Hopefully we can get that special moment again.
“We’ve got to play our own game.
“When we played at Newcastle, we didn’t play at all until we were 4-0 down.
“That game’s gone now but everyone is still hurt by it.”
Richardson is likely to revert to a midfield role on Sunday to accommodate fit-again defender Nedum Onuoha – a switch that will see Phil Bardsley move to left-back.
The former Manchester United player has struggled to earn a run in one specific position this season following a hamstring injury in September.
Since returning to action against the Magpies after a month out, he has been used at left-back and in every slot across the midfield.
Richardson said: “Of course ideally I’d like a run in one position because chopping and changing everywhere doesn’t help.
“But I’ve just got to get on with it and wherever I play, I’ve just got to try my best.
“When I’m on that pitch with that shirt on, playing for Sunderland, I’m happy no matter what.”