Sunderland travel to bitter rivals, Newcastle United, this weekend hoping to complete a league double over the Magpies for the first time in 42 years.
With Newcastle struggling with form, injuries and a manager in need of elocution lessons, confidence is high on Wearside.
Buoyed by a hard-fought 1-0 home win against Fulham and playing a team that's in free fall, Sunderland fans will be expecting Ricky Sbragia to play an attacking line-up and go for the win.
The problems at St. James's Park are starting to mount for caretaker manager, Joe Kinnear, and they're problems that the Black Cats will hope to take full advantage of.
Newcastle, without a win in seven games, look certain to be without their star striker, Michael Owen, for the Tyne-Wear derby. Add to that, the injuries to Obafemi Martins and Mark Viduka, and Newcastle seem likely to play one front from either Andy Carroll or Shola Ameobi.
Carroll or Ameobi could both play great on Sunday, but, I'd much rather they were on the team sheet than Owen. A Newcastle team with Michael Owen in the starting line-up is a much more daunting prospect than one that isn't.
Then there's the Shay Given saga. Manchester City have had an offer turned down for the Newcastle goalkeeper. I just hope that they make an improved bid and get Given to Manchester sooner rather than later.
With the transfer deadline being extended until beyond this Sunday's derby there's the possibility of Given still playing against Sunderland and making the move to Manchester City after the game.
Without Shay Given in goal and Michael Owen up front, Newcastle look a very poor side.
As well as an injury crisis and a wantaway goalkeeper to deal with, Kinnear also has a problem with Charles N'Zogbia. How to pronounce his name, that is.
Kinnear struggled to pronounce the Frenchman's name during the post-match interview on Wednesday, calling him 'insomnia' or something to that effect. N'Zogbia has argued that Kinnear disrespected him and has gone on strike, ruling him out of Sunday's derby. I'm sure he was signed by Bobby Robson. Surely, he should be used to managers getting his name wrong?
The problems at Newcastle have been the source of much amusement to Sunderland fans but let's not get carried away just yet.
An injury to a Sunderland defender before or during the game could cause problems.
Sunderland can count on only four fit defenders for the game. Anton Ferdinand, Danny Collins, Phil Bardsley and George McCartney will make up the back four.
With McCartney only just back from three months on the treatment table, Nyron Nosworthy and Paul McShane injured, and the sale of Pascal Chimbonda back to Spurs, Sunderland are very light at the back.
Sbragia needs to find reinforcements for defence, ideally before we play Newcastle. I don't feel comfortable going into such a big game with such a short supply of defenders.
I was also surprised to see Sbragia let Chimbonda return to Spurs without bringing anyone in as a replacement first. Let's hope this decision does not come back to haunt him.
Injury problems to our defence cost us last year's derby at St. James's Park when Jonny Evans and Phil Bardsley were ruled out because of knocks picked up in training the day before the game.
They were replaced by Paul McShane and Danny Higginbottom, both of whom struggled to cope with Michael Owen and epitomized our lacklustre performance.
An injury to one of our four remaining defenders could have a similar effect, although we won't have to deal with Owen and McShane is injured, so he can't cause any nervy moments at the back.
The return of Keiron Richardson from a three-game injury layoff should give an added boost to the Sunderland team. The midfielder was the match winner in Sunderland's 2-1 win against Newcastle earlier in the season, scoring a thunderous free-kick.
With Teemu Tainio struggling to be fit for the game, a straight swap with Richardson seems the most likely option, with Dean Whitehead playing the holding midfield role.
I knew we'd lose last year's derby as soon as the team was announced. With the possibility of starting a derby without Given and Owen, Newcastle fans could be thinking the same thing.
Let's hope so.
Verdict: Newcastle United 1 - 2 Sunderland
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