JACK Colback says Sunderland players have been waiting for the derby rather than worrying about it.
The Black Cats face the Magpies a week this Sunday at the Stadium of Light in a game which already has the excitement and tension levels rising in both cities.
Sunderland go into the game with a pretty dreadful record in the 21st century so far, but Colback says there will be no fear factor at a club which feels desperately hard done by to have lost the home derby 1-0 and drawn the away return 1-1 last season.
“We can’t wait for the derby,” he said. “I thought we should have won at least one of the derby matches last season.
“The game at St James’s Park still stings a bit.
“I’m not one for looking back, but it was really disappointing to concede so late on as we did that day.”
The minds of Sunderland’s players at the academy this week were able to drift towards the Wear-Tyne derby.
However, those players were very much in the minority with only half a dozen first-team squad members not called up on international duty.
And Colback admits it’s a shame that commitments for their country will stop so many Sunderland players from being able to prepare as they would like for such a key game for fans.
“It’s unfortunate that we have had another international break,” he admitted.
“This is our third, and it has really made the season a bit stop-start.
“The break has given the derby game a big build up, and that’s fine.
“It’s a game we are really looking forward to.
“But it is difficult when there are only a few boys left behind for training when the rest are away on international duty.
“There is usually just six or seven of us left behind in these breaks.
“Normally the other guys get back a few days at most before the next game, which this time is the derby.
“It is difficult, but you just have to get on with it.”