Sam Allardyce believes the mental battle will be a key ingredient in the outcome of Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby.
Sunderland have handled the pressure of the derby cauldron in stunning fashion over the last two-and-a-half seasons after a record-equalling five successive wins over Newcastle.
Sunderland have consistently been able to manage the occasion better than Newcastle and the results prove thatSAM ALLARDYCE
And Allardyce wants the survivors of those victories - three of which, Seb Larsson, John O’Shea and Adam Johnson have featured in all five - to draw on those experiences to make it six-in-a-row.
“The players have to have it in their long-term memory to draw on it again,” added Allardyce.
“Recently, the club has not been in a great position in the Premier League, but still managed to pull off this victory.
“That goes with the old adage about it doesn’t matter what form you’re in, when it comes to a derby, form doesn’t matter.
“It’s about who does it on the day.
“Obviously, Sunderland have consistently been able to manage the occasion better than Newcastle and the results prove that.
“That’s what we have to do again.
“If we handle the occasion better than Newcastle, then we give ourselves a much better chance to win.
“And then of course, your skills come into play. If you create that chance, can you take it?
“If you can’t, it could be a heavy miss.
“Last year, it was one of the best pieces of skill and best goals seen not just in the derby, but in the Premier League, with Jermain Defoe’s goal.
“If we can see a bit of that, it would be wonderful!”