Undoubtedly Sunderland have had the better of recent encounters, winning the last four Tyne-Wear derbies in succession, but the bigger picture sees the Black Cats just a point above the relegation zone and without a win in seven Barclays Premier League games.
Meanwhile, Newcastle have lost their last three games in succession and will be without suspended captain Fabricio Coloccini after his recent sending off at Everton. Of equal concern to interim manager John Carver will be Newcastle's poor recent form in derby fixtures and today we look at some classics from the past.
May 14th 1990 Newcastle United 0 Sunderland 2
One of the best-remembered derbies on Wearside was the famous play-off win of 1990. The first leg at Roker Park was drawn 0-0 and Newcastle were strong favourites on home soil in the return fixture. But goals from Eric Gates and Marco Gabbiadini took Sunderland to a Wembley final, which they lost to Swindon, but they took the First Division place anyway due to Swindon's ineligibility.
August 25th 1999 Newcastle United 1 Sunderland 2
In what proved to be manager Ruud Gullit's last game in charge of Newcastle, the Dutchman effectively signed his own death warrant by omitting strikers Alan Shearer and Duncan Ferguson from the starting line-up. Peter Reid's Sunderland took full advantage with goals from their own star duo Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn really forcing home the point.
August 21st 2011 Sunderland 0 Newcastle 1
Newcastle continued their good run in this fixture through an unlikely source. A Ryan Taylor free-kick proved to be the only goal as the Geordies held out in the face of a home onslaught. The Geordies had lost just one of the previous 13 fixtures between the two at this point.
April 14th 2013 Newcastle 0 Sunderland 3
In only his second game in charge Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio saw his team stun their hosts with a 3-0 victory with goals from Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and David Vaughan signalling a series of trademark Di Canio celebrations.
December 21st 2014 Newcastle 0 Sunderland 1
This most recent meeting saw struggling Sunderland record a priceless victory with a 90th minute Adam Johnson winner. With the Black Cats missing a host of chances, Newcastle's fans were left stunned by the late breakaway goal which proved to be the highlight of then-manager Gus Poyet's short reign at the Stadium of Light.