Newcastle United are hoping for a 'new manager bounce' this weekend with Rafa Benitez taking charge ahead of the Tyne-Wear derby, but the impact Sunderland's new players may have should not be underestimated.
Newcastle made their own January signings too, but it is Sunderland's who have proved more effective so far, particularly man mountain of a defender Lamine Kone.
Kone is the sort of defender Newcastle could desperately have done with, and he sent a message on Twitter last night expressing his excitement at the upcoming fixture, which could prove to be pivotal in the relegation battle, as Sunderland bid to win their seventh derby in succession.
He already seems fired up for the game, and Sunderland fans responded by urging him to put in an early tackle on the player who left them to join Newcastle United, Jack Colback, and similarly make his presence felt on their derby opponents.
@LamineKone_23 Big tackle on Jack Colback early on please!— Ronnie Lamb (@Ronniesafc) March 16, 2016
@LamineKone_23 haway kone lad. Splatter steven taylor all owa Sid James.— Peter Foster (@foslar71) March 16, 2016
Derby matches are often fraught with controversy, and the winner at the weekend will be the team who can deal best with the pressure.
Kone will need to set aside any desire to make a name for himself, and stay disciplined for the benefit of his team, not only remaining in the referee's good books for this fixture, but to avoid getting swept up in the emotion of the match and receiving a red card which rules him out of the relegation run in.