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.