Former Sunderland midfielder Martin Smith believes Newcastle United would find it hard to bounce back from a derby defeat.
Smith made 145 appearances for the Black Cats scoring 28 goals during his stint with the club.
And the boyhood Sunderland fan is confident Sam Allardyce's side will avoid defeat at St James's Park and go on to secure their top flight status.
Smith believes Sunderland will ultimately have enough to stay up regardless of the Tyne-Wear derby result but he says it will have a "bigger detrimental effect" on Rafa Benitez's side if they were to taste defeat.
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"I still think we’ve got enough to stay up," said Smith.
"I think if they [Newcastle] get beat, it’ll have a bigger detrimental effect on them.
"Whereas we have the players and the characters in the team to bounce back.
"I also think the two Norwich games will be just as big as this one really."
Both Sunderland and Newcastle still have to travel to face relegation rivals Norwich City before the end of the season.
Smith admits he was feeling far more confident about the Tyne-Wear derby before Steve McClaren was sacked as Newcastle United head coach.
But he is still confident the Black Cats can get a result on Sunday lunchtime.
"I know it's like an old cliché but it’s the first match you look for when the fixtures come out. It’s just massive," said Smith.
"If you'd have asked me this time last week [about who would win the derby] I’d have been massively confident, especially if McClaren was still there.
"I've got a feeling it might be a draw.
"A low scoring draw which, away from home, you’d probably take. I don’t think we’ll get beat," Smith told SportByte.