STEPHANE Sessegnon is eager to banish the memory of his last meeting with Newcastle United – and go from derby villain to hero.
Sessegnon saw red in March’s clash with the Magpies after lashing out at Newcastle midfielder Cheik Tiote and being promptly dismissed by referee Mike Dean.
Sunderland were leading 1-0 when the Benin forward was sent off just before the hour mark, and it was ultimately to cost Martin O’Neill’s men after Shola Ameobi’s last-minute leveller denied the Black Cats a first derby success since 2008.
Sessegnon was left distraught at his rush of blood, and is desperate to make amends on Sunday when Newcastle visit the Stadium of Light.
The 28-year-old told the Gazette: “I know the importance of this match now. It’s a game where all that matters is winning.
“For me personally, yes, it’s one where I want to do well because of the last match. After the red card, I felt dreadful, and there won’t be a repeat.
“But at the same time, that passes and I want to give my best in this one.
“For the fans, it’s a massive match and if we can win, it would give me a lot of pleasure.”
Sunderland head into the derby in mixed mood after slumping to a 3-0 loss at Manchester City in their last Premier League outing before the international break.
But the Black Cats at least mustered a victory in their last Stadium of Light encounter after registering a first league win of the campaign against Wigan.
Sessegnon, who has remained on Wearside during the international break with Benin not in action, added: “It was important that we got the three points against Wigan.
“That victory gave us a big boost to our confidence. We knew after that there would be two big games against Manchester City and Newcastle.
“As I said, it was important for us to get that first win for our confidence, and let’s hope we can continue to pick up points.”