The Magpies will take on Sunderland at St. James’ Park in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
Gray believes that the Tyne-Wear derby will end in a 2-2 draw and wrote on Sport360.com: “It’s one thing to make a team better organised and more difficult to beat which Rafa Benitez is very good at but its another thing to create chances and score goals and you need more than a week in charge to work your magic at that end of the pitch.
“That means he is going to have to rely on a good defensive display against Sunderland who have a very good record against Newcastle. 2-2.”
Well-known sports presenter Richard Keys believes that Sunderland will pick up all three points from the encounter courtesy of a narrow 1-0 victory.
“Sunderland have won the last six North East derbies and although Benitez will have worked hard on his team in the short time he has had since joining Newcastle, Sunderland know what they are about, are a better team, will play deep and nick a goal on the break,” Keys wrote on Sport360.com. “0-1.”
Playing at home will give Newcastle an advantage against Sunderland, and new manager Rafael Benitez will surely have been working on his side’s defence over the past few days.
The Magpies have some good players, but they have been severely underperforming throughout the season.
The Newcastle fans have renewed optimism about survival now that Steve McClaren has been replaced by former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss Benitez.
The St. James’ Park faithful will be cheering on the team right from the first minute until the last, and that should give the players an added motivation.