Shola Ameobi believes local rivalry will ensure Newcastle's season does not merely fizzle out.
The Magpies are ninth in the Barclays Premier League, level on points with Sunderland but one place ahead courtesy of a superior goal difference.
Striker Ameobi understands the importance of finishing above their local rivals and told the Newcastle Journal: "You want to finish as the top team in the region.
"It didn't look very likely until a few weeks ago, but we've dug in and done well as of late while they've had a poor run.
"It's something we're focusing on, but we'll take it game by game and hopefully finish on top."