Derby Day, Sunderland v Newcastle, looms large once again.

Many fans might not give it much thought until a week before, but for me it comes on the radar with a month to go.

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Just 31 days separate us from the renewal of rivalries with our friends on Wearside. Given that the year has started to fly by already, that will mean we have a showdown with the Mackems over Easter. A resurrection of Geordie hopes, perhaps?

The scheduling is rank. It’s probably just me, but the last derby just before Christmas basically ruined the festivities. Even sitting down to Christmas dinner I was still replaying that late goal over and over in my mind. It should have ended 0-0, but it bloody didn’t.

The facts make for a tough read. Newcastle haven’t won a derby since August 2011. We have lost the last four games against Sunderland and played terribly in all of them. Bragging rights, cherished for so many years, have well and truly upped sticks for those of the red and white persuasion.

This next instalment will be played out at the woefully named Stadium of Light. They will have home advantage and will be buoyed by their new found record in this fixture

Meanwhile, many of the current Newcastle squad don’t seem to have a clue what it takes to win in the white heat of this most local of skirmishes. Don’t forget, the rest of the country couldn’t give a monkey’s what happens, but it means a hell of a lot to both sets of fans locally.

Pardew’s record in the derby was terrible. Some lay the blame at his door and he is very much culpable in many different ways. The players also have to shoulder the burden. They must take a long hard look at themselves and realise that Newcastle Utd needs something from one of these games.

So what can be done to increase our chances of a better derby day outcome?

Well, for starters, we’ll need a wee bit of lady luck. Sounds daft I know, but a rub of the green is always something teams need from time to time in these games. That means a bit of luck in the game itself and with injuries in the build up.

More importantly, we need John Carver to get his tactics right. It will be a tricky task at the Stadium of Light so I’d suggest going there and attacking them from the off. Give it a go. Throw the kitchen sick at them and see what we get. Let’s not go down with a whimper.

We need the Newcastle players to believe in themselves. They need to go out there and change the mood music.

If SAFC are still in or around the bottom three then the pressure will be on them a bit more than in previous games.

I might be clutching at straws, but the point is that Newcastle fans need to see a reversal of fortunes in the derby. It’s already on my mind, that’s for sure.

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton