Tyne-Wear derby: How should Sunderland line-up against Newcastle at St James's Park?

It is arguably the biggest head-to-head battle in many years, especially with both Sunderland and Newcastle struggling at the wrong end of the table.

Friday, 18th March 2016, 2:44 pm
Updated Friday, 18th March 2016, 2:46 pm
Which Sunderland team would you pick to face Newcastle?

The Black Cats will be looking to extend their winning streak against the Magpies to seven games, while new Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez will be looking to put an end to it.

Which Sunderland AFC team would you pick? Have a go of our new team selector tool here:Ahead of the Tyne-Wear derby, Sportsbyte look at how Sunderland should line up against the Magpies on Sunday lunchtime:

Vito Mannone: The Italian was brilliant in the Black Cats’ last game with Southampton. He commanded his area well and will offer the side a great deal in goal, especially with previous derby experience.

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DeAndre Yedlin: Despite mixed performances at late, Yedlin seems to step up to the mark on the big stage. He looked steady in the game with the Saints and offers potential going forward.

Lamine Kone: A real decider between Younes Kaboul, who was one of the top performers in the last game, and Kone. Allardyce will probably prefer to go with the Ivory Coast international along with O’Shea at centre-back.

John O’Shea: Despite picking up a knock a few weeks back, O’Shea made an appearance against the Saints and looks likely to slot back in at the back ahead of Kaboul, especially as he has a wise head on his shoulders.

Patrick van Aanholt: A real livewire going forward, van Aanholt will offer pace going forward and protection at the back. He has made a real impact at the Stadium of Light this season.

Yann M’Vila: A real powerhouse in the centre of the park, and M’Vila should be one of the first names on the team sheet come Sunday. He never looks hesitant in possession and always looks to get the ball rolling going forward.

Jan Kirchhoff: A mixed start to his Sunderland career, but looks as though he is has made the most of the trust Allardyce has put in him. The experienced German has performed well with M’Vila and will get the nod at the weekend.

Jack Rodwell: After coming back from injury recently, Rodwell has slotted in well in the midfield. He has a real presence about him on the ball and seems to get in the right places at critical times in the game.

Fabio Borini: Borini has previous experience and happy memories of the Tyne-Wear derby and Allardyce should give him the nod. Will cause problems for the opposition.

Jermain Defoe: Defoe is more likely to get the call ahead of Dame N’Doye on Sunday. He came on as a substitute and made a big impact for the final half-hour and Defoe also knows how to make the most of his chances.

Wahbi Khazri: A bit of a mixed performance against the Saints but Khazri has shown his ability in recent matches. He hit the bar from a set-piece last game and Allardyce will look to use him out wide again for the derby.