MIKE Williamson says he and his Newcastle United team-mates are putting in some hard yards between now and the Wear-Tyne derby.
Head coach John Carver and his squad this week started preparations for the club’s visit to the Stadium of Light on April 5.
The manager’s got us in. we’ve got our schedule, and there’s a lot of hard work before the next match.Mike Williamson
Newcastle have lost their last FOUR games against Sunderland, who are battling the threat of relegation from the Premier League.
Derby veteran Williamson is confident Carver’s injury and suspension-hit team will be ready for the match thanks to a “rigorous” training schedule.
“We’ve got an opportunity to get some good training,” said Williamson. “The manager’s got us in, and there’s a lot of hard work before the next match.
“We’ve got quite a rigorous schedule. We’ll make sure we’re ready.”
Williamson – the club’s only available senior centre-half – has both good and bad memories of derbies against Sunderland.
Newcastle beat Sunderland 5-1 at St James’s Park in his first Tyne-Wear fixture. He came off the bench the last time the club won on Wearside, but he has also been on the losing side twice.
He said: “I think you can rip the form book up when it comes to that game.
“It’s a great spectacle. I thoroughly enjoy playing in them – the atmosphere, the pressure and the intensity of it is brilliant. I’ve played in quite a few and I don’t need to get myself up for it – I know what it’s all about.”
Williamson was speaking at the launch of Newcastle International Airport’s Give As You Earn scheme.
It allows airport staff to donate directly to its charity partnership between the Newcastle United Foundation and Sunderland’s Foundation of Light.