Former Sunderland defender outlines what he hopes will happen to Newcastle

Sunderland Gates

Stanislav Varga says he wants both his old club and their rivals to stay up as he believes the Premier League needs the Tyne-Wear derby.

Former Sunderland defender Stanislav Varga has told bwin that he hopes that not only his former club survive, but that Newcastle also avoid relegation so that the Premier League can continue to host the Tyne-Wear derby.

Varga became something of a fan favourite at the Stadium of Light despite making just 54 appearances in four-and-a-half years across two spells with the club.

His former side face their arch-rivals in one of the biggest meetings between the two clubs in recent memory this weekend, with both teams in serious peril at the wrong end of the league table.

Whilst many people associated with Sunderland would love to see Newcastle get relegated even (or particularly) if the Black Cats stay up, the 43-year-old told bwin that he hopes the Magpies also retain their top-flight status.

He said: "Nowadays, the Black Cats are always fighting relegation, but I hope they can stay in the league because the people, the players and the manager deserve to be at the highest level in English football.

"The main thing for the club is to stay up, it doesn’t matter how you do it. As a former Sunderland player I hope that they always finish higher than Newcastle.

"[But] it would be sad to see either team go down because English football is richer for having great derbies such as this, so I hope for the league and fans that they both stay up.

Despite Varga's wish, in reality, it looks likely that at least one of the North East sides is doomed to life in the Championship next season.

With bottom club Aston Villa all but gone, it looks likely to be any two of Sunderland, Newcastle and Norwich City who join the Birmingham side in the Championship, with an eight-point gap between 16th and 17th place.

Sunderland currently have the slightest advantage in the race to survive, sitting outside the relegation zone on goal difference.

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