Moussa Sissoko looks crucial to Newcastle United’s chances in Sunderland derby

KEY MAN: Moussa Sissoko
KEY MAN: Moussa Sissoko

JOHN Carver has tried a change of routine ahead of the Wear-Tyne derby – by moving training to St James’s Park.

The club’s head coach will put Newcastle United’s players through their paces on home turf today ahead of Sunday’s game against relegation-threatened Sunderland.

If Moussa Sissoko can get the better of Lee Cattermole, United will have a chance of taking all three points.

MILES STARFORTH

Carver, looking to end a run of four successive derby defeats, feels his team will benefit from a change ahead of their visit to the Stadium of Light.

And the move will ensure there are no prying eyes as he works on the side’s shape and formation inside the stadium’s four walls.

Carver has few options, and much depends on the readiness of midfielder Mehdi Abeid, who is available after a two-game absence.

These games are invariably won or lost in midfield, and if Moussa Sissoko can get the better of Lee Cattermole, United will have a chance of taking all three points.

Up front, forward Ayoze Perez looked fresh against Arsenal. On his young shoulders rests a heavy responsibility – he is the one player who can make things happen in the final third of the pitch.

At the back, Newcastle’s makeshift defence will be tested by a team which have struggled for goals this season.

It’s hard to see either team keeping a clean sheet – Sunderland are missing Wes Brown – and punters without tribal loyalties will presumably fancy the draw.

That wouldn’t be a disaster for United, who simply must not lose. Sunderland – who could be in the bottom three by kick-off time – simply must win.