Matthews left Celtic to sign with Sunderland, and he has told the Sunderland Echo that he is excited to play in the Tyne-Wear derby due to its similarities with the Old Firm.
The Welsh international said: “All the big teams you look forward to playing but the Newcastle-Sunderland derby I’m quite looking forward to. People say it’s similar to the Celtic-Rangers derby with the atmosphere and hostility so hopefully playing in those games will hold me in good stead if I do get the opportunity to play in this derby.”
Matthews, a right-back, moved to Celtic in 2011, and although his time at Parkhead has coincided with Rangers spending time in the lower leagues, he has still played in a number of Old Firm ties.
The Old Firm derby does share many similarities to the Tyne-Wear derby, even if the clubs involved are not fighting for the same kind of success. Celtic are set for silverware every season, and Rangers enjoyed a similar fate prior to their liquidation, whilst Newcastle and Sunderland have long spent time out of the limelight.
The atmosphere is rife with tension, and fans of both clubs give their all in terms of support for their respective teams.
Matthews has played in such situations, and will be arriving at the Stadium of Light looking to continue the impressive record Sunderland have over their North East rivals. The Black Cats seem to be in the ascendancy for recent years when taking on Newcastle, and Matthews' experience sets him in good stead to help continue this impressive record.