The Wear-Tyne derby is this weekend with both Sunderland and Newcastle looking to improve upon their poor starts to the season, and former Ipswich player Alan Brazil has suggested to talkSPORT that the Magpies are at a disadvantage due to the foreign players in their side.
Brazil said: “In the past, these derby games, the record speaks for itself. For me, when you need to fight, the foreign contingent of Newcastle are not up for it! If Sunderland get a goal early, I cannot see Newcastle coming back.”
Newcastle have lost the last five derby games to the Black Cats, with not only a negative result each time, but a series of performances which did little to excite fans.
The Magpies looked dead on their feet every single time they came up against their local rivals, despite the fact that the players should be more motivated than usual to pick up a result against a side who they so fiercely dislike.
However, Brazil believes he knows why the performances are lacking in fire and motivation - because of the number of foreign players in Newcastle’s team.
They do not understand the history of the game against Sunderland, and so struggled to build the same sort of fight that the Black Cats players can.
Whilst a wise assessment, Sunderland will also struggle from the same issue, as although the Black Cats can call upon a number if English born players, only Lee Cattermole and Duncan Watmore are actually Sunderland fans, and Danny Graham is actually a Newcastle fan.
The derby this weekend is one of the most important in recent history considering both clubs need to pick up points quickly, and Newcastle fans will be hoping their players can start to show some fight against their local rivals.