STEVE Bruce wants a derby win this weekend to ease the pain of last season’s crushing humiliation at St James’s Park.
The Sunderland boss admits the memory of that shocking 5-1 defeat against Newcastle on Halloween will haunt him for the rest of his life.
And he says that not even grabbing a draw from the return showdown at the Stadium of Light in January really eased his pain.
But Bruce has a shot at redemption on Saturday as his new-look Sunderland squad – boosted by 10 summer signings – goes into its first home game of the Premier League campaign.
“You can’t avoid what is written in history,” he said looking back on that horrible day.
“I have to live with that result, and that half an hour where it all went wrong for us, for the rest of my days – it’s not something I can forget even if I tried.
“Usually in football, you remember the worst times far more vividly than you do the successes and that was up there with with my very worst moments in football.
“You have to move on, though.
“The one at St James’ was horrific, but it has gone now.
“It’s a new season, a new game and we go into it with some new players.
“This weekend, it’s important we handle the occasion and play well on the day and I am quietly confident that we’ll be far, far better than last season – let’s face it, we could hardly be any worse!
“But, really, only a win will be good enough if we want to try and leave the 5-1 game behind us.
”It’s what we’ll be going for on Saturday.
“We’re at home and we want to win as many of our home games as we can – regardless of who the opposition is.”
Sunderland may have only picked up one point out of six against Newcastle last term, but they drew some consolation out of the season by finishing above their rivals.
Bruce regards that as an achievement – an achievement he would like to repeat this season – but he also wants to prosper in the matches against the club’s closest rivals this season.
He said: “I’m from the North East and I know what these games mean to the fans here in Sunderland.
“They would rather win the derby matches than anything else and I understand that.
“Last season, we didn’t do well in the derbies but, in the bigger picture, we finished above Newcastle and that gives us some bragging rights, at least.
“That was the big thing for me last season – ultimately, we finished above them for a third successive season.
“But it will help more if we get the victory this weekend.”