It’s now six months since Sunderland stunned St. James’ Park last season, but following their 3-0 win on Tyneside, the Black Cats have won just once in 13 Premier League games.
With only a single point on the board this term after eight matches, new manager Gus Poyet knows the enormity of the task in hand—but Newcastle United arrive with revenge in mind.
The form table will mean little on Sunday afternoon, and if previous Tyne-Wear derbies are anything to go by, a ferocious pace on the pitch and a cup-tie atmosphere off it will come as standard.
Magpies manager Alan Pardew is no stranger to this fixture and knows the potential damage an early Toon goal could do to the Wearsiders’ moral.
So as the United boss works on his final preparations, we look at his likely starting XI against the old enemy at the Stadium of Light.