John Carver has only experienced one derby game in charge and not only was it a depressing fifth in a row defeat in terms of games against Sunderland, it was also the fourth Premier League loss in a row of that horrendous eight match run towards the end of last season.

That defeat at Sunderland being the first time maybe when Newcastle fans started to look at the league table and wonder if Carver could do the impossible, by taking United down.

Move forward six months and John Carver has warned Steve McClaren that he will feel just as bad as he did when Croatia beat England.

Whilst a loss to Sunderland wouldn’t produce the scale of national and international coverage that the ‘Wally with the Brolly’ episode produced, in the north east it could and would be on a similar scale.

A Sunderland win by a couple of goals or more would likely put Newcastle bottom once again and destroy the momentum and much of the confidence produced by the win over Norwich.

Carver fancies Sunderland to stay up regardless of Sunday’s result, based on what we have seen of Newcastle’s attacking potential we would fancy the same for United.

However, if Newcastle’s defence proves even incapable of handling a very poor Sunderland team, then you would have to worry about just how safe NUFC are this season.

A spirited 1-0 away win would do me, with the whole team and McClaren showing that they can handle a game that both Pardew and Carver proved they could not.

John Carver speaking to The Star:

“This is a game Steve McClaren dare not lose, that night in 2007 when England lost against Croatia at Wembley to miss out on the Euros was the lowest point for him.

“Well being manager of Newcastle when Sunderland beat you, is just as bad, I should know.”

Feeling responsible:

“When you lose it is certainly not just another defeat, I always tried to remain upbeat when I was in charge but I struggled in the days after Sunderland beat us. Maybe it was the fan in me but I can’t really put into words how bad I felt afterwards.

“You just want to lock yourself away because as manager you feel responsible. I’m praying Steve doesn’t have to go through what I did.”

Winning mentality:

“It’s a long time since Newcastle went into a derby on the back of a win and that could make all the difference.

“Mind you, whatever the result and obviously I’m desperate for an away win, I still have a feeling that with Sam at the helm, Sunderland will stay up.”