Turner out to repeat Tiger feat
Sunderland defender Michael Turner is hoping to serve up a repeat dose when he returns to St James' Park on Sunday. The 26-year-old will run out for his first Tyne-Wear derby clash having already tasted victory over Newcastle on Tyneside, although in different colours. Turner was part of the Hull side which, as part of a blistering start to their first season in the Premier League, headed for St James' on September 13, 2008 and left with a shock 2-1 win. It was an eventful day on Tyneside as the home side's fans vented their fury on owner Mike Ashley and his so-called "Cockney Mafia" in the wake of Kevin Keegan's departure as manager a few days earlier, and Marlon King's double did nothing to appease the locals. Turner said: "It was a strange atmosphere that day with all the stuff about the owner. It was a bit of a weird atmosphere. "But we managed to go in front in that game and went 2-0 up. They got a consolation and we managed to hang on. "I think the atmosphere this weekend is going to be totally different to what it was then, but it was a great experience at the time." A similar result this time around would cement an excellent start to the season for the Black Cats, and go some way to closing the gap between the local rivals in recent times - with Newcastle having won seven of the 16 Premier League encounters between the two, to Sunderland's three. The omens are difficult to read: the Magpies have not won any of their last four home games and have lost three of them, including Wednesday evening's 4-0 Carling Cup defeat by Arsenal; but Steve Bruce's men have tasted victory in only seven of the 61 league games they have contested on the road since their return to the top flight. Those statistics might provide encouragement for both teams, although Turner believes the old cliche about the derby formbook holds true. He said: "Teams have gone there and put on good performances against them and they have found it tough at home. "But they say form goes out of the window in derby games and it will do on Sunday. "Whichever team plays better on the day is going to win, and hopefully that will be us. "It's important to get a good start in the game, get a foothold and try to keep them quiet as much as possible. "It's going to be a good atmosphere and their fans are going to get behind their team, and it's important for us to try to do everything we can to keep them quiet." Newcastle's midweek cup exit - manager Chris Hughton rested nine key men with the derby in mind - came in the wake of a good league win at West Ham, their first in four attempts. Seventh-placed Sunderland make the short trip to Tyneside on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run, with victories over Manchester City and Aston Villa either side of five successive draws, but they are only a point better off than their neighbours in a tight table. Turner said: "Everyone has looked at the table and seen how tight it is, so it's important in every game to pick up points and keep ticking over. "We have done that with a lot of draws, but the win on Saturday rocketed us up there and of course we will be looking to pick up more points and put them on the board." The Black Cats will be boosted by the availability of left-back Kieran Richardson, who has recovered from the hamstring problem which has sidelined him since the end of September.
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