Sunderland can't count on derby form to avoid relegation, says Dick Advocaat

Dick Advocaat
Image: Dick Advocaat: Looking for his first win at the Stadium of Light

Sunderland might have the better recent record against Newcastle heading into Sunday's north-east derby, but head coach Dick Advocaat has brushed the statistics aside, saying "the past doesn't matter".

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Sunderland have won the last four matches against Newcastle and need a similar result to climb out of the relegation zone.

But Advocaat, leading the side into the always-tense fixture for the first time, says recent results mean nothing once the players take to the pitch.

"The past doesn’t count anymore," Advocaat, two weeks into his reign as head coach, said.

"We don’t get more points because of the last four games.

"It’s a special game on Sunday, everybody knows that, but I also said that it’s a home game for us - that can be a big advantage.

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Sunderland Head Coach Dick Advocaat was very pragmatic with regards to his team's favourable head to head record against Newcastle

"Every game for us is a special match, and because it is Newcastle it is special, but we still need the points and we still have only eight games left.

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"It is very important that we can show our fans that we really want to win and if we can get them behind us it can be a very important weapon."

Sunderland currently sit in 17th place on the Premier League and will look to collect important points in the home fixture, Advocaat’s first game at the Stadium of Light.

And the Black Cats will be boosted with the return of captain Lee Cattermole to the starting line-up after suspension. The midfielder has made an early impression on Advocaat, who described the 27–year-old midfielder as an important leadership figure.

"He is the controller; a player of experience for the team," Advocaat said. "It is good that he is back, both as a player and as a person."

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