The number of Newcastle United derby virgins is a massive cause for concern.
We have a team and squad filled with players who have never known what it feels like to win against Sunderland.
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The days of Newcastle going into this fixture having been there, seen it, done it….seems an awful long time ago.
Thanks to an embarrassing run of four defeats on the bounce to the mackems, Sunderland will have a team pretty much full of players who will know little else than beating Newcastle.
So who do Newcastle have that know the score?
In terms of players who are fit and available the list is a pretty short one.
The last two victories for United were in October 2010 with the famous 5-1 Halloween annhilation, plus Ryan ‘over the wall’ Taylor’s match in August 2011.
From those two wins we have the following possibilities:
Tim Krul (played in both)
Jonas Gutierrez (played in both)
Mike Williamson (played Oct 2010 and late sub in Aug 2011)
Gabriel Obertan (Aug 2011)
Ryan Taylor (Aug 2011)
With Jonas and Obertan unlikely to start, Newcastle look almost certain to face Sunderland with goalkeeper Krul, Williamson and Rayan Taylor as the only players to have experienced winning a derby match.
No midfielders and no forwards on the pitch who know what it takes to beat the local rivals.
Of course Newcastle do have one other person who knows what it takes to win a derby but sadly that was when he was at Sunderland…
Jack Colback has in fact featured in every single one of the last eight derbies, losing the last one in Newcastle colours but winning the previous three in red and white.
If as expected he again fills in at left-back, ironically four of Newcastle’s back five will have won at least one derby but relying on our makeshift defence to keep a clean sheet looks a big ask.
As with all derby matches you look for players to step up but outside of Daryl Janmaat we look to have very little leadership in the team.
After the first twenty minutes I think we’ll have a pretty good idea as to whether our derby virgins are going to do it for the first time, as Sunderland are going to be at it from the off.