Newcastle United boss McClaren has been submissive in his approach to Sunday’s clash, playing down the importance of the game by rationalising it as just three more points up for grabs.
While in the grand schemes of things the three points is the biggest prize on offer, supporters rarely feel that way and Sunderland manager Allardyce is well aware of the consequences of a negative result.
"No, it isn’t just another game - it is far from it, for me. It is one nobody wants to be on the wrong side of. Losing this game can have a more damning effect on you than any other, so we need to get out there and win," the 60-year-old is quoted as saying by The Sun.
More than just a game?
While it’s important for managers to remain focused and attentive ahead of such an important fixture, dismissing it as just another game can have a negative impact on the players.
During his tenure as Derby County boss, Steve McClaren was also passive towards the East Midlands derby with Nottingham Forest, whereas Reds legend Stuart Pearce was the complete opposite.
As the Rams went in search of victory, they were simply overworked by an inferior side willing to run that extra yard in order to give their supporters some short-term joy in an otherwise poor campaign.
Forest won that game 2-1, a very just result on the balance of play.
Newcastle must head into their derby clash with the same intensity and spirit as the Black Cats, otherwise they could equally find themselves outworked and heading back to Tyneside with zero points.