'Secret derby' win over Newcastle is a big help to Sunderland, but not because of the scoreline

Dame N'Doye
Dame N'Doye
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Doubtless, there'll be plenty of bar-room banter emerging tonight over Sunderland's emphatic victory in the "secret derby".

After the chuckles have died down on Wearside though, Sunderland's 6-0 win has no lasting repercussions.

March's clash at St James's Park is all that matters for two clubs that are on a beeline towards still being in the thick of the relegation dogfight at that stage of the season.

It ain't 'seven in a row' yet!

But today's behind-close-doors Stadium of Light friendly was imperative for improving the sharpness of those on the fringes of the Sunderland first-team.

Clearly, the mainstays of Sunderland's side have needed a breather this week after they were so alarmingly heavy-legged at times in last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.

Yet Sam Allardyce needs those waiting in the wings to be ready to take their opportunities.

The likes of Jack Rodwell, Steven Fletcher and Duncan Watmore will inevitably be called upon in the coming months and Sunderland cannot afford for them to be rusty, given the current state of the relegation battle.

The same applies to new signings Jan Kirchhoff and Dame N'Doye, with the latter not playing a competitive game for more than a month.

Clearly, there were a few reservations from Allardyce about throwing N'Doye into the fray from the bench against Bournemouth.

Playing against fellow Premier League players, rather than a friendly against a lower league side, should do the Senegal international the world of good ahead of a crucial month in the survival battle.

That's the big benefit of the "secret derby".

The scoreline just provides Sunderland fans with something to smile about.