Defoe's response when asked which Sunderland striker he wants to play alongside

Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe is set to start in their match against Newcastle United this weekend.

Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has told the Northern Echo that he has no preference who he plays up front with. 

Defoe is almost a guaranteed starter for Sunderland after arriving in January, but his partner is less clear.

Steven Fletcher, Danny Graham and Connor Wickham have all had the chance to play alongside Defoe so far this season, and the striker insists that he doesn't mind who he is partnered with. 

"I don’t mind, really,” he said. “Even when I’ve been at other clubs with a lot of forwards, people would ask who would you rather play with but they’re all good players, so the manager picks the team. The manager’s changed things to find a partnership.

“The way we played at West Ham with two up front and a No.10 behind allows us to create more chances. I don’t know how we’re going to play on Sunday but if we do play that way it’s like playing with three forwards, so we’ll see what happens. But if we’re playing with three forwards and we’re all on our game, it’s good for the team.”

Sunderland utilised a diamond system against West Ham United, with Wickham playing in-behind a partnership of Defoe and Fletcher.

It didn't manage to get the side firing, with Sunderland losing 1-0 at the Boleyn Ground, but there were signs of promise and it looks likely that Dick Advocaat will stick with it this weekend for his side's game against Newcastle United.

Sunderland take on Newcastle in one of the most important Wear-Tyne derbies for some time, and Advocaat will know that he can ill-afford to lose the fixture.

The Black Cats are just one point above the relegation zone and a defeat to their near neighbours would be a crushing blow for the side to take. 

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