Paolo Di Canio calls upon players to end derby drought

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Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has urged his players to end the 13-year wait for victory when his side meet rivals Newcastle United at St James' Park on Sunday.

Sunderland’s last win on Tyneside came back in November 2000 when Niall Quinn and Don Hutchinson scored to earn a 2-1 victory at St James’ Park, but they have not since beat their rivals away from home and Di Canio believes it’s time for this to change.

"It's the time to renew the moment," Di Canio told BBC Newcastle.

"It's the time to give satisfaction. We have to feel confident we have the quality and team to beat them."

Di Canio added: "The derby is the derby, it obviously counts for three points, not six, but it counts in terms of dignity, honour and pride, especially away from home.

"It will be fantastic to give them [the fans] satisfaction to celebrate, and if we do this we get the three points.

"The most important thing is to see the fans waving red and white scarves and celebrating in their homes, it will be a day to remember for many because the last time we won away was in 2000 with Hutchison and Quinn, that's too far [back in time]."

However the Black Cats are not on the best run at the moment and are without a win in nine games, and this has left them just one place above the relegation zone on goal difference, with only six games to play.

Therefore the Italian coach knows that a victory is vital in order to keep up the fight for Premier League safety, and insists his players are up for the task.

He added: "If we don't go there with the maximum desire, passion and intensity, then we ought to go to the psychiatric clinic.

"It is the stage we have waited for, as players, they have to fight and deliver the strategy. They have to fight on the field.

"This is the best stage in the world [for the players]. They will give their best and more than their best, for this I am confident." 

Newcastle will also be looking to pick up the three points, as they are only five points off the drop zone, knowing that a victory would put them in a strong position to survive as well as placing enormous pressure on their Tyne and Wear rivals.

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