Sunderland and Newcastle United go head-to-head this weekend.
Newcastle are currently 19th in the league, one point and two places above Sunderland with one of the pair almost certainly set to play in the Championship next season.
With Aston Villa all but doomed and Swansea City eight points better off than Sunderland with nine matches remaining for Sam Allardyce’s side, the simple fact is that Sunday’s clash is the biggest of six-pointers.
A win for Sunderland and they will move four points clear of their fierce rivals but if Newcastle triumph they will leapfrog the Black Cats and get the wind behind their sails for the vital run-in.
Ahead of the game Sunderland’s players, including new signing Emmanuel Eboue, have been put through their paces on the training field as they look to build on recent draws against Crystal Palace and Southampton.
But they will know that going one better would be a hammer blow for Rafa Benitez, who oversaw a 1-0 defeat in his first match in charge of Newcastle earlier this week.
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