JAMES McClean is desperate to sample his first North East derby after making a successful FA Cup bow.
McClean notched his second in as many games to ensure Sunderland safely navigated their third round trip to Championship outfit Peterborough yesterday with a comfortable 2-0 victory.
It set up a mouth-watering clash with neighbours Middlesbrough in the fourth round, with Tony Mowbray’s men visiting the Stadium of Light on the weekend of January 28- 29.
Left winger McClean has thrived in his three successive starts since breaking into the side and hopes he can maintain his seamless transition to the first-team, to keep his place when the bragging rights come up for grabs.
McClean told the Echo: “It’s the first taste of a local derby here for me so I’ll look forward to it.
“I’m just enjoying my football at the minute. The manager’s showing faith in me and it’s up to me to keep working hard to stay in the team for that game.
“We want to progress in the cup as far as we can.
“It should be a cracking game with Boro in form. But we’re at home and hopefully we can put in another performance and send the fans home happy.”
McClean nodded home Seb Larsson’s second half corner to double Sunderland’s advantage after the Swedish international had broken the deadlock with a free-kick three minutes after the interval.
With Peterborough failing to test Black Cats keeper Simon Mignolet on a single occasion, Sunderland coasted to victory, securing a fourth win in five games under Martin O’Neill.
“Two headers and two goals in two games is not bad,” said McClean, who scored his first Sunderland goal in Tuesday’s 4-1 victory at Wigan.
“Seb’s set pieces speak for themselves and it was a tremendous ball in – all I had to do was glance it on.
“I’ll take the goals when they come and hopefully I can chip in with a few more before the end of the season.
“I was unlucky with the shot in the first half when it hit the bar. But I want to get into the right areas to help the team.”
The 22-year-old added: “Peterborough have started the season really well and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“But we bided our time and stayed compact and knew our quality and fitness would show through in the end and that proved to be the case.
“It was a professional performance from us and we came away with a good win.
“In recent weeks, the defence has been top notch and hopefully that can continue.
“We know we’re on a good run of form at the moment and the confidence is high. Long may it continue.”