Sebastian Larsson previews Sunderland's huge clash with Newcastle United

Sunderland will aim to make it a seventh consecutive derby victory.

Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson has said the Tyne/Wear derby is a game that all players always look forward to ahead of a crucial weekend in the battle to avoid relegation.

The Black Cats are a point ahead of Newcastle United having played a game less. Sunderland are hovering above the relegation zone while their rivals are currently in 19th place. 

Larsson told the Sunderland Echo: “Yes, the pressure’s on because of the situation in the league, but it’s one of those games that you want to be involved in as a player.

“You want to walk away from St James’s Park with three points again, which would set us up nicely for the run-in.

“I’ve been involved in enough of them now to realise how important they are for the whole area.

“But three points for either team at this stage of the season is obviously massive. We all know that.

“If we can get them in the local derby as well, it would obviously put us in a good situation."

Sunderland have had a terrific run over their fierce rivals having won each of the last six derby games, and there have been a few occasions in that run when they have been the beneficiaries of the 'new manager factor'.

This time, the boot is on the other foot in that regard with Rafa Benitez taking charge of his first home game as Newcastle United manager following a narrow defeat to league leaders Leicester City. It will be interesting to see if he can end that sequence and get a much needed win for the Magpies.

The Black Cats will have other ideas as they go into the game in the knowledge that seventh straight win over Newcastle will bring about some delight between the two sides as the season heads into the home straight.  

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