Excitement builds for Magpies
Michael Owen is looking forward to experiencing a Tyne-Wear derby for the first time.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 09/11/07 4:51pm
Michael Owen is looking forward to experiencing a Tyne-Wear derby for the first time as Newcastle prepare to face Sunderland on Saturday live on Sky Sports 1.
He has already experienced the rivalry between Liverpool and Everton and played in El Clasico in Spain, but at the Stadium of Light on Saturday lunchtime he will get his first taste of the North East equivalent.
Owen was injured for Newcastle's 3-2 home win and 4-1 victory on Wearside after arriving from Madrid two seasons ago, and will be looking to make up for lost time.
"Every derby is different," he said, "whether it's Liverpool v Everton or Newcastle v Sunderland
"I have never played in a Newcastle v Sunderland derby, and I am looking forward to sampling this one."
Mark Viduka could join Owen in attack for the first time since September after finally recovering from a troublesome calf injury, whilst defender Steven Taylor is hoping to retain his place and, as one of the few locals in the squad, he knows exactly what is at stake.
Taylor said: "Every Geordie looks forward to the derby games. It's a massive game for me, the fans and everyone associated with the club.
"It's a game we have really got to win. It means so much to the whole of Newcastle. I am desperate to play, but the manager makes the decision."
Despite reports suggesting that his stay on Tyneside may not extend much past his first derby, Sam Allardyce is refusing to let the recent speculation get to him.
"That's life and I have lived with that for the last 16 or 17 years that I have been a manager," he told reporters.
"It has of course got worse as the years have gone on, so I do not expect it to get any better if we lose football matches."
Owner Mike Ashley will have the perfect opportunity to gain the public opinion of his manager at the weekend after deciding to wear his club shirt and watch the game with the travelling supporters, as opposed to taking his seat in the directors' box.
Newcastle chairman Chris Mort explains the decision: "Niall (Quinn) understands that Mike wants to wear his black and white shirt for this game more than any other, but at the same time, he does not want to cause anyone at Sunderland any problems for doing so.
"As a result, Mike has decided to watch tomorrow's game in with our fans behind the goal, and he is very much looking forward to doing so."