In a surprise move, Newcastle and Sunderland are set to play a ‘friendly’ derby behind closed doors this week.

With both teams out of the FA Cup and no Premier League match until next midweek, The Mail have revealed that Sam Allardyce and Steve McClaren have organised the game to be played at the Stadium of Light.

It is reportedly to allow a number of senior players to get some time on the pitch and Monday night saw a very youthful Newcastle reserve team lose 3-1 to Derby.

The likes of Emmanuel Riviere, Steven Taylor and Sylvain Marveaux were expected to potentially get a run out for the Under 21s (reserves) but appear to have been held back for this derby friendly.

Newcastle usually bring in lower league opposition for these type of behind closed doors matches and it is hard to see any game between the two clubs being played without at least some ‘competitiveness’.

Another explanation for the game could of course be to help both sides showcase the fitness/ability of a number of players they are desperately looking to offload in this transfer window.

Newcastle now left with excess players for their 25 man Premier League squad that needs to be confirmed after the end of this transfer window, with Saivet and Shelvey signed, plus Andros Townsend seemingly also on his way into St James Park.