Sunderland and Newcastle resume derby hostilities on Sunday with the Black Cats desperate to finally claim their first Barclays Premier League victory of the season.
Here are some of the facts and figures surrounding a fixture which matters on Wearside and Tyneside.
1. The joy of six?
Sunderland head into the game at the Stadium of Light looking for a record sixth successive victory over their biggest rivals.
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The Magpies, who recorded five back-to-back derby wins between February 2002 and April 2006, have not taken a single point from the Black Cats since a 1-1 draw on Wearside in October 2012, and have scored just one goal in the process.
2. Second time lucky?
Sam Allardyce is bidding to become the fourth successive Sunderland boss to bounce back from defeat in his first game at the helm by beating Newcastle in his second. Remarkably, Paolo di Canio, Gus Poyet and Dick Advocaat all lost first time out, 2-1 at Chelsea, 4-0 at Swansea and 1-0 at West Ham respectively before the Italian guided his team to a 3-0 success at St James’ Park, the Uruguayan won 2-1 at the Stadium of Light and Jermain Defoe’s superb volley handed the Dutchman a 1-0 victory on home soil.
3. Revenge mission?
Allardyce, of course, had a brief and ill-fated spell in charge at St James’, losing his job as Newcastle manager after just eight months. His reign included only one derby, a 1-1 draw on November 10 2007 in which James Milner cancelled out Danny Higginbotham’s opener, and while he insists that chapter of his career is closed, victory would no doubt be all the more pleasurable for him.
4. Derby day heroes
The likes of Defoe, Fabio Borini, Adam Johnson, Kevin Nolan, Shola Ameobi and Nikos Dabizas have earned places in derby folklore in recent seasons with goals which continue to be celebrated long after their significance waned. Single strikes from Johnson and Defoe handed Sunderland a double last season, while Nolan is the last man to score a hat-trick in the fixture – in the Magpies’ 5-1 home victory on October 31 2010.
5. The form book…
… goes out of the window on derby day – and that is probably just as well. Sunderland are without a league win in 12 attempts dating back to last season and, perhaps more worryingly, have collected three points on their own pitch only four times in their last 24 outings.
Newcastle belatedly opened their account for the new campaign with their drubbing of Norwich, but have not tasted success on the road in the league since they beat Hull 3-0 on January 31, some 11 games ago.
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