The North East’s two great rivals Sunderland and Newcastle United face each other today.
But how will the game pan out?
We asked our Sunderland and Newcastle reporters to take a look into their crystal balls to predict the outcome.
Here’s how they got on...
Chris Young, Sunderland reporter:
Last season’s corresponding fixture, was the only one of Sunderland’s five successive derby wins where I felt genuinely confident of success beforehand.
Newcastle were in wretched form, they had the mental barrier of Sunderland’s winning run, plus the Black Cats desperately needed three points to beat the drop.
But I expect this year’s clash to be much tighter affair, with chances at a premium.
Steve McClaren knows he needs to prevent Sunderland making it a record-breaking six-in-a-row if he is to truly endear himself to Newcastle supporters and I suspect he’d be happy with a draw, particularly after the win over Norwich last weekend.
Sam Allardyce, on the other hand, will be desperate to beat his former club, is well-aware of Sunderland’s success in recent meetings and most importantly, knows the Black Cats need to get that elusive first win under their belts.
However, Allardyce’s priority since the last fortnight has been strengthening Sunderland from the back.
It wouldn’t surprise me whatsoever if both teams cancel each other out with a draw, but I have a sneaky feeling that it could be Sunderland’s third 1-0 win in a row.
Miles Starforth, Newcastle United reporter:
A glance at the goals against column in the Premier League table tells you all you need to know about the root of the problems at Newcastle United and Sunderland.
Between them, the two clubs have conceded 38 goals so far this season.
But this game doesn’t have the look of a goals-fest, however, bad the respective defences have been this season. After all, there are problems elsewhere too.
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce, invariably, will pack his midfield and attempt to stop Newcastle playing. Will Georginio Wijnaldum and Ayoze Perez be able to find pockets of space?
Will Moussa Sissoko turn up? And can Aleksandar Mitrovic and Cheick Tiote, if he plays, stay on the pitch?
As ever, there are more questions than answers ahead of the derby.
But a sixth successive derby defeat is unthinkable for Newcastle, and I think McClaren’s side will take something, most likely a point, from the 153rd meeting between the North East’s two great rivals.
Richard Mennear, sports reporter:
Finally, after all the hype and speculation, derby day is upon us.
Sunderland have won the last five encounters between the two sides and while recent history is firmly in their corner, not many would put their mortgage on this current Black Cats squad to make history.
Bottom of the Barclays Premier League, no wins from their opening nine matches, and a shocking defence with 19 goals conceded and a goal difference of -11.
Awful statistics. But hey, this is derby day. And for the last five encounters the day has belonged to Sunderland.
The players have a canny knack of getting themselves sufficiently pumped up when it comes to facing Newcastle.
And you wouldn’t bet against them making it win number six.
Newcastle go into the game on the back of the 6-2 thrashing of Norwich City, full of confidence and goals but the previous five defeats will weigh heavy on the shoulders of the Toon players.
Both managers, especially Steve McClaren, have attempted to play down the hype. Perhaps understandably.
But the Stadium of Light will be bouncing come lunchtime and I’m backing Sunderland to produce another winning performance, a narrow 2-1 win.