Sunderland will go on the front foot from the opening bell in tomorrow’s Wear-Tyne derby, with a more attacking hand at Sam Allardyce’s disposal.
New manager Allardyce opted to keep things tight for his first game in charge of Sunderland at West Brom last weekend, in a bid to halt the Black Cats’ defensive vulnerability which has been a prime reason behind their place at the bottom of the Premier League.
But Allardyce will be more adventurous for his opening home game tomorrow lunchtime, and has the options to do that, albeit derby hero Fabio Borini could miss out on the visit of the Magpies.
Borini was due to undergo a fitness test on an ankle injury today, which has ruled him out of training this week and prevented him running without pain.
However, Ola Toivonen and Jeremain Lens are available again after injury and suspension respectively, while Jermain Defoe – last season’s Wear-Tyne derby hero – is in Allardyce’s thoughts.
Allardyce said: “There’s options in terms of more flair players, better equipped to create a few more chances.
“If there was one thing which was disappointing at West Brom, we could have created an awful lot more with the amount of possession we had.
“I can’t argue with them (West Brom) having two shots on target, away from home. We want to have that solid base, and we showed a very solid base.
“But that won’t matter for the derby. Tactically, that’s not going to work.
“We’re going to have to show a different tactic tomorrow than the one we had at West Brom.
“We need to do more in possession to make life as difficult as possible for Newcastle to have any control.
“That’s very important, particularly in the early part of the game.”