Sunderland are to get a fixture boost ahead of next month's derby thanks to a FA Cup enforced re-arrangement.
Sunderland are seeking to win their seventh match in a row against rivals Newcastle United next month, and take a step towards staving off relegation at their rivals' expense.
Both teams are locked in a battle for survival where every little advantage counts, and the fact are Newcastle are at home for the upcoming fixture could be negated by the latest developments.
The Sunderland Echo report that Sunderland's match the week prior was scheduled to be against Everton, but this now has to be re-arranged after the Toffees qualified for the sixth round of the FA Cup where they host Chelsea, due to be played on the same weekend.
This means Sunderland will be given the weekend off, potentially allowing them two weeks to prepare for the big derby game.
The extra time will provide added rest and recovery time, and extra focus for players and management as they work out a way to defeat Steve McClaren's side.
Newcastle were already at the disadvantage of having to play a Monday night game before the March 20 derby, when they travel to current league leaders and title chasers Leicester City, who will have plenty to play for.