Looking ahead to derby day.

Steve Bruce - Pantomime dame.
Steve Bruce - Coming to a panto near you soon.
Next weekend sees the return leg of the Tyne-Wear derby, and those red and white tramps will be positively fizzing at the gash in anticiapation of trying to get their own back after the 5-1 hammering that we dished out to them at Halloween.

Now it’s a little bit early to start the pre-derby drum beating – that can wait until a bit later on in the week – but it isn’t to early to have a look at the task in hand. Sunderland is a tough place to go to nowadays, not least because of the locals lack of evolution, the stench, the crime, but also because, as much as it pains me to say it, they have a half decent side these days and are a strong outfit at home.

This is not to say that we can’t beat them, because we can, have, and will do again in the future, but we need our best players available if we are to stand a chance at the Stadium of Shite.

Andy Carroll, Shola Ameobi and Jonas Gutierrez are still doubtful for the match at the weekend, although there is plenty of time for that to change of course. Fortunately we have no midweek match, which will hopefully give those players a chance to recover fully.

On the plus side, Jose Enrique should be back after a bout of flu over the weekend. The left-back is a very important player for us, which is slightly worrying in itself. How many other teams miss their left-back so much, in both an attacking and defensive sense? Not many I’ll bet.

The defeat to Stevenage is just about out of my system now. I’ve had my moan about it, but I realise that the league is more important this season. A mild cup run wouldn’t have gone amiss though, would it? Anyway, it’s largely irrelevant now and I wish Stevenage well in the next round against Reading. I dislike both teams really so they can knock themselves out if they wish to do so.

Anyway, like I was saying, the defeat is completely, utterly , 100% out of my system, but the level of performance will stick with me for a while. Quite simply, if they play like that at Voldemort’s on Sunday they can expect to be beat, and to receive a massive backlash from the fans. It is the players chance to put things right, and they better not blow it! Not winning the game will be horrible, but not turning up would be 100 times worse.

It looks as though they will have to try to put things right without Cheik Tiote. It’s just been revealed on Sky Sports News that the club will be appealing the red card, although I personally feel that there is very little chance of the red card being rescinded, despite the fact that Tiote got the ball in the tackle.

Of course, if the FA see fit to overturn the red card then I will be ecstatic and I will retract everything bad that I have ever said about them. If they uphold the decision however, may the fleas of 1,000 camels set up home in Andre Marriner’s pubic area.

Fingers crossed for Tiote!

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