NEWCASTLE United’s Ayoze Perez is looking to write himself into derby folklore at the Stadium of Light.
Perez is in line to start against Sunderland in Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby.
We had a lot of chances against Sunderland at home but we didn’t scoreAYOZE PEREZ
The 21-year-old is desperate to wipe out the memory of the Magpies’ home defeat earlier this season.
Perez returned to John Carver’s starting XI in the club’s last match against Arsenal after a three-game spell on the bench.
And he is under no illusions about the importance of the derby to the club and its fanbase after four demoralising losses to Sunderland, with a fifth successive loss unthinkable to the club’s support.
“We’ll try to win it,” Perez told SportMail “It’s a big game – we all know that.
“We need to work very hard and try to get three points.
“Hopefully, I will be on the pitch. I need to train, work hard and try to get three points.”
Relegation-threatened Sunderland replaced head coach Gus Poyet with Dick Advocaat this month in an attempt to halt its slide towards the Sky Bet Championship.
And the derby will be the first home game for Advocaat, who has previously managed Rangers in Old Firm games against Celtic in Glasgow.
But events on Wearside are not preoccupying Perez, who is focused on the job in hand north of the Tyne over the coming days.
“We need to look at ourselves – that’s all,” said the Spain Under-21 international. “We need to train, work hard and prepare for the match. It’s a big match for everyone.”
Newcastle, then managed by Alan Pardew, were beaten by a 90th-minute goal from Easington-born Adam Johnson in the Tyne-Wear derby in December.
Perez and his team-mates were caught by a counter-attack as they pressed for a winner.
“We had a lot of chances (against Sunderland at home), but we didn’t score,” said Perez.
“They counter-attacked and scored.
“We were very disappointed, but we have another opportunity to get three points.”
– MILES STARFORTH