Alan Pardew relishing Newcastle derby match
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is expecting an explosive introduction to the Tyne-Wear derby.
The 49-year-old will send his side out against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday knowing the Black Cats will be fighting tooth and nail to avenge their 5-1 humiliation at St James' Park in October.
It will be his first taste of one of English football's traditional rivalries, but he is confident he knows exactly what to expect.
Pardew said: "It is certainly the biggest game I will have as Newcastle United manager this season.
"I have seen many Tyne-Wear derbies before and I know what they are - explosive.
"I have played in London derbies and last year I was at Southampton when we played Portsmouth for the first time in a few years. That was quite ferocious.
"However, I know that this will be on a much, much larger scale than that. I am sure of that.
"I am looking forward to it and I know the players are. They are determined to bounce back from the weekend and get a result."
Newcastle, of course, were dumped out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle when League Two Stevenage pulled off the shock of the third round by beating them 3-1 last Saturday evening.
But their opponents this weekend fared little better with League One Notts County leaving the Stadium of Light having secured an equally prestigious scalp.
Both managers have injury problems with Pardew keeping his fingers crossed that star striker Andy Carroll, as well as Shola Ameobi, Jose Enrique, Steven Taylor and Jonas Gutierrez, will be fit to make the short trip to Wearside.
Carroll and Ameobi tore the Black Cats apart in the reverse fixture, in which the latter scored twice as skipper Kevin Nolan plundered a hat-trick, and the England striker's absence, along with that of suspended midfielder Cheik Tiote, would be a major blow.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce also has injury worries, although he will have defender Nedum Onuoha available after a hamstring strain and today rated the chances of skipper Lee Cattermole and striker Danny Welbeck returning from back and hamstring problems respectively at 50-50.
Meanwhile, Pardew's pursuit of Birmingham winger Sebastian Larsson appears to have run into the buffers over the player's wage demands.
Press Association Sport understands the Magpies have ended their interest in a player to whom they were given permission to speak over the weekend.
Larsson, who was also a target for Sunderland at one point, has been offered a new deal at St Andrew's, and there is also interest from clubs in Portugal and Spain.
The 25-year-old Swede played 87 minutes of last night's 2-1 Carling Cup semi-final first-leg defeat at West Ham.
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