There was a time when Sunderland went to Goodison Park and it brought nothing but pain and disappointment, as Everton were our ultimate bogey team.
But the last two trips there, against all the odds, have brought unexpected victories.
You couldn’t put a price on the second of those wins at the back end of last season, which gave everybody such a lift and the belief that the drop could be avoided.
Sunderland head to Merseyside once again deep in trouble, but with the confidence and morale boost that a win over Newcastle always brings.
Despite the derby win, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sam Allardyce made changes again for the Everton fixture, as he might want to get more bodies in midfield to stifle the Toffees – similar to the tactics he used in the last away game at West Brom.
It will probably take about half-a-dozen games before Sam settles on his best team and until then, every player will have to fight for his place.
Everton are always a difficult team to play against, but they had a bad day in their last home game against Manchester United, so Sunderland should close down, battle and make life difficult for the Toffees, as their fans may get frustrated if things don’t go their way early on.
Romelu Lukaku is the player I fear most. He’s big, powerful, quick and I remember him destroying us almost single-handedly a couple of seasons ago when on loan at West Brom.
It’s a tough game for Sunderland, but from the doom and gloom of the vast majority of this season, suddenly there’s light at the end of the tunnel as we chase a third consecutive win at Goodison.