Victory is all-important for Colback
Jack Colback will settle for a derby victory however it comes as Sunderland attempt to break Newcastle's stranglehold on the fixture. The Black Cats have beaten their arch-rivals in the league on Wearside only once since 1980, and have just one win either home and away against the Magpies in 15 attempts. However, Sunderland firmly believe they have not received their just rewards during that run of fixtures and apart from a 4-1 home defeat in April 2006 and a 5-1 horror show at St James' Park in October 2010, there has been little to choose between the sides in recent years.
For that reason, Tyneside-born Colback will not worry how the three points arrive on Sunday as long as they do. The 22-year-old said: "Certainly from what I can remember growing up, it's always seemed to be that way, that Sunderland have played well and just not got the rub of the green. The games have always been tight. "But it is certainly something we will be looking to change. We would rather have a shocker of a game performance-wise and win the game than play well and lose, for sure. "It's the type of game in which, certainly at home, defeat just isn't an option." As a local, Colback knows exactly what is at stake, but is equally aware that control is required after Stephane Sessegnon and Lee Cattermole were sent off in the reverse fixture last season. He said: "That's the thing, you have got to treat it professionally, but I certainly know how much it means to the fans. It's the game that everyone looks for first when the fixtures come out. "It's a game I am really looking forward to. I got a good taste of it last year, starting the game at the Stadium of Light, and it was certainly a very tense affair. "It's one we are certainly looking to win this year. We owe it to the fans to get a win in this game." Sunderland winger James McClean will be in contention after shaking off a groin problem and full-back Phil Bardsley could also make the squad after returning to action for the Under-21s side following an ankle injury.
Hatem Ben Arfa is hoping derby victory at the Stadium of Light can belatedly kick-start Newcastle's season. The Magpies have won only two of their seven Premier League games this season, and although they have lost just two, they are struggling to find the consistent form which catapulted them into fifth place at the end of the last campaign. However, a 1-0 derby victory on Wearside in August last year proved the catalyst for that surge up the table, and France international Ben Arfa is looking for a similar boost this weekend. He said: "We are confident because we know we have very good players in our squad. That's why we are confident. "In the Premier League, we have to win to get more confidence. In the last few games, we didn't take a lot of points. "We have to get our confidence back. We have to win consecutive games to have high confidence. "We have very good players. On the pitch, everyone wants to do very well in this game. "All the fans want to play this game, but they can't, and we going to give all our energy for this game." Ben Arfa has had only one taste of the derby experience during his time on Tyneside, coming on as a half-time substitute in the 1-1 draw at St James' Park in March to spark a fightback which helped his team come from behind to snatch a point. As a result, the visit to the Stadium of Light will be his first, although the 25-year-old has been left in little doubt as to what to expect. He said: "Everyone in the club, even in the kitchen, has told me, 'Now you have to score' and 'Now you have to win'. "It's the biggest game for Newcastle this season. For the last week, every time I go into town, people have talked just about this game. "I'm looking forward to playing this game. I'm very happy to play this game. I'm sure every player wants to win this game for the fans. "Last year, I played one half. I felt the atmosphere was very great, not like other games. "I have never played in Sunderland before, so I will see what happens there, but I think it's going to be very hard. The fans from Sunderland are going to make a lot of noise." Newcastle are likely to be boosted by the return of first-choice central defenders Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor from injury, while keeper Tim Krul is also in contention after working his way back from an elbow problem.