‘Miliband might forgive Di Canio if Sunderland beat Newcastle’ – Tories and Labour unite behind Black Cats

WE'LL WIN: Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson
WE'LL WIN: Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson
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A RARE case of political peace has broken out on Wearside ahead of Sunday’s derby clash with Newcastle.

Sunderland City Council leader Councillor Paul Watson and Conservative deputy leader Councillor Peter Wood are in complete agreement with what they want to see when the full time whistle goes on Sunday.

Coun Watson refused to be drawn on a scoreline prediction, but said: “Any win will do.”

And, for once, Coun Wood backed him up.

“I am prepared to take a bipartisan line and I agree completely that any win will do,” he said, “but I will stick my neck out and predict a 2-1 scoreline.

“I think we are overdue a win at St James’s Park quite frankly – I think even David Miliband might forgive Paolo Di Canio if we can do that.”

Black Cats FA Cup winner Micky Horswill reckons passion is the key to success.

“It is going to be very difficult. The manager has just come in so he’s not going to know his best team, plus he has a lot of injuries,” he said.

“He’s got Gardner suspended, Fletcher and Cattermole injured, so he has got three of his main men out.

“But we all know what derby matches are and hopefully the enthusiasm of the manager has rubbed off on a few of them and they will turn in a performance.

“It has got to be about passion until the end of the season, passion, commitment and enthusiasm. So far this season, we have been missing that.”

Martyn McFadden, editor of fanzine A Love Supreme, is harking back to the glory days of Quinn and Phillips: “I always predict we will beat Newcastle by 2-1,” he said, “and I will certainly settle for that.

“It is a match we absolutely cannot afford to lose – but then I have been saying that for weeks now.”

Martyn is hoping the Magpies’ Europa League defeat at the hands of Benfica can hand Sunderland the initiative on Sunday.

Sunderland Echo editor John Szymanski also reckons Sunday’s game will finish honours even, but he doesn’t think both sides will finish with 11 men.

“As always, I expect a red-hot atmosphere and both sets of players going for it, as they know full well how important it is,” he said. “I am predicting a score draw and a sending-off.”