Adam Johnson says that he would be happy to lose to Newcastle United, if it meant that Sunderland would finish ahead of them come May.
The Black Cats take on their North East rivals at the weekend and they will determined to pick up a win - which would be only their third three point haul of the season.
However, Johnson admits that he would be happy to give Newcastle the local bragging rights for the short-term if it meant that his side got the last laugh.
“The fans sometimes say if you win the two derbies, it doesn’t matter where you finish," he said to the Shields Gazette.
“But I’d rather finish above them and lose one of the derbies personally."
“These games are massively important for reasons of local pride, but we need to treat it like any other game."
Despite Johnson's statement, Sunderland fans are desperate to grab a victory in the derby to end their worrying run of form in the best way possible.
So far the Wearsiders have proven though to beat, but their failure to convert one point into three has put them into a relegation fight.
Newcastle, on the other hand, have put together one of their most impressive campaigns in recent times and are talking about a European push.
The Magpies already have a seven point advantage on Sunderland and if they were able to beat their local rivals on Sunday then the Black Cats' hope of finishing ahead of them come May would look very unlikely.