JERMAIN Defoe has been told there’s ‘nothing quite like’ a Wear-Tyne derby as he prepares to face Newcastle United for the first time as a Sunderland player.
Defoe was signed by the Black Cats in January in a swap deal with Jozy Altidore, who moved to Toronto.
I’ve spoken to the boys and they’ve told me there’s nothing quite like it.Jermain Defoe
But despite only being in the North East a matter of months, he has been left in no uncertain terms about how big the upcoming derby is.
The 32-year-old is now hopeful of playing his part in extending Sunderland’s great run against their closest rivals with the Black Cats having won the last four clashes.
“I’ve spoken to the boys and they’ve told me there’s nothing quite like it,” Defoe said.
“It’s a fixture for the fans and it’s a massive game for everyone involved with the football club.
“It’s a game we can win. The lads have been unbelievable in the last few games against Newcastle. I think it’s four in a row and hopefully that can continue.
“It’s going to be a difficult game of course but with us being at home we will have the advantage of our fans.”
The derby, a week on Sunday, represents a huge chance for Sunderland to get their season back on track.
Since beating Newcastle 1-0 at St James’s Park in December, the Black Cats have won just once in 13 Premier League games, a run which has seen them slip to fourth-bottom of the table, just a point outside the relegation zone.
Dick Advocaat’s appointment as head coach to replace Gus Poyet saw an improvement in performance against West Ham on Saturday, but the game still ended in defeat for Sunderland.
Defoe, however, believes the Easter Sunday clash at the Stadium of Light represents the perfect opportunity to ‘kick-start’ their season.
“There’s no better game for us to get a win and give everyone around the club a lift,” he said. “There’s no better game to kick-start a revival and get the club away from danger.
“We’ve got eight games coming up and the manager has told us they are all cup finals, which is right because we need to get points.
“If we continue to play like we did against West Ham we’ll be fine. We created a lot of chances, had good movement and were solid and defended well.”