This coming Saturday, Newcastle United face the one match their supporters want to win more than any other: the Tyne-Wear Derby.
The Geordies are still reeling from losing their last two against Sunderland—the 3-0 defeat at St James’ Park is still particularly painful—but have the chance for revenge in Saturday’s early kick-off.
Derby Day also has another twist this time round, with the game falling the day after transfer deadline day, so plenty of new names will have the chance to become heroes.
One of those players is Newcastle’s latest centre-forward, Luuk De Jong.
Papiss Cisse missed the game against Norwich for an unspecified reason, while Newcastle’s second-highest scorer, Yoan Gouffran, was also absent.
That opens up the chance for De Jong to become an instant hero at St James’ Park.
The stage simply does not get any bigger for a debut. In front of 52,000 fans who want nothing more than to see local bragging rights return to the black and white half of the North-East.
De Jong hasn't played first-team football for a number of months, having fallen drastically down the pecking order at Monchengladbach since signing from FC Twente for £12.5 million in 2012.
That means Alan Pardew will likely name De Jong on the bench when he picks his side to play Sunderland but may well call upon the Dutch international in the second half.
Should De Jong come on and score, it could reinvigorate a striker who has only netted six times in 36 appearances for Monchengladbach and give him the confidence he showed when he smashed 39 in 76 appearances for FC Twente.
If that form can be recaptured, De Jong would almost certainly earn himself a permanent deal at St James’ Park in the summer and would also go a long way to earning a place in the Netherlands’ World Cup squad.
It all starts this Saturday lunchtime. Over to you, Luuk.
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