Sunderland will play Newcastle United in ‘friendly’ this week

Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce
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Sunderland and Newcastle United are set to play a behind-closed-doors derby game.

The proposed practice game is pencilled in to be played at the Stadium of Light this week, and has been arranged to top up the fitness of a number of senior players from both clubs.

Sunderland and Newcastle normally play behind-closed-doors games against lower league sides.

And the decision to face each other will raise eyebrows given that fixtures at any level between the two teams are fiercely competitive – and neither club can afford any more injuries.

However, with both sides out of the FA Cup, and facing a free weekend, Sam Allardyce and Steve McClaren have arranged the unusual match.

Sunderland travel to St James’s Park in a televised Premier League fixture on March 20, looking for a seventh successive victory.