LEE Cattermole says if he picks up the booking this weekend which will see him miss Sunderland’s FA Cup quarter-final against Everton – then so be it.
The Black Cats skipper goes into Sunday’s derby at the Sports Direct Arena walking a disciplinary tightrope ... but knowing exactly what Wearside expects.
And he says the thought of not going into a Newcastle-Sunderland game at full tilt simply won’t cross his mind.
Cattermole successfully got through last weekend’s game at West Brom without picking up his 10th yellow card of the season – a booking which would have brought a two-match ban, ruling him out of the derby and next week’s game against Liverpool
Now the captain knows that a booking in Sunday’s white-hot derby atmosphere will deny him the chance to face Everton at Goodison Park in the FA Cup in a fortnight’s time.
But the tough-tackling midfielder says he will not hold back as Sunderland go all-out to avenge their August defeat at the Stadium of Light, and win on Tyneside for the first time since 2000.
He said: “I won’t shirk anything on Sunday because of the nine yellows.
“If I get booked and miss the cup quarter-final, then that’s the way it’s going to be.
“Obviously, I don’t want to miss the cup game but you can’t go into a game like this worried about what will happen if you make a tackle.
“You just have to play one game at a time, and not look too far ahead.
“It was hard at West Brom and I think it played on my mind a bit because it was highlighted a lot, particularly with the derby coming up.
“But it didn’t affect the way I played. I don’t think you can really try to change your game for things like that – I play how I play.
“Tackling is a massive part of my game so I have to just put things like this out of my mind.
“The most important thing is that we win, because the defeat in August was hard to take after being the stronger team on the day.”
Cattermole is one of several players who will be involved this weekend who were a part of the Sunderland side that lost 5-1 at Newcastle last season.
But he points out that the Black Cats hit back after that derby disappointment by taking seven points from their next three games – including the amazing 3-0 win at a Chelsea.
With Sunderland’s 4-0 defeat at West Brom last Saturday being their heaviest defeat this season, Cattermole is looking for a similar response, starting at the Sports Direct..
“Fingers crossed, that’s what will happen,” he said.
“Last season we were on a good run when we went to Newcastle and lost, but we responded brilliantly – beating Stoke, drawing at Spurs and then winning down at Chelsea.
“Obviously, we lost badly at West Brom last weekend and hopefully we will bounce back in the same manner.
“The spirit is still high because we’ve only had one bad result in three months. The longer our good run went on, the more likely that there would be a bad performance and a bad result.
“It’s definitely better that it came last weekend than this!
“And on the back of that bad result, there is no better game for us than this one’.”
Cattermole may have been born on Teesside, but he believes the Tyne-Wear rivalry is as intense as any in football and fully understands the passion it stirs amongst the fans.
“This derby is as big as any for me,” said Cattermole. “I went to Arsenal-Tottenham on Sunday and the atmosphere there couldn’t touch the Sunderland-Newcastle games.
“There’s a lot for us to play for this season, but we know how important this game is to the fans. They get put right at the top of their ground but they will be singing their hearts out and we will do the best we can out on the pitch.
“These are the games we all want to play in and Sunday’s game is one we are all relishing. We can’t wait.”