We are proud to bring you the Newcastle v Sunderland Treatment Room, the latest in our regular feature where before each match, industry specialist Ben Dinnery brings you all the latest injury news ahead of the game.
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As if we need reminding, Newcastle take on Sunderland tomorrow in the 149th Tyne / Wear derby at St James’ Park and the prospect of a third successive defeat at the hands of our footballing neighbours, is a notion I dare not entertain; a feat which last occurred in the early 1920s.
The good news from Thursday’s press-conference is that Hatem Ben Arfa has been passed fit to play after his early withdrawal against Norwich with cramp. The French midfielder gave an accomplished performance for 75 minutes and offered a glimmer of hope to suggest that there will be life after the departure of Yohan Cabaye.
Loic Remy will miss out through suspension, his appeal against Wednesday’s sending-off was rejected by the F.A., meaning the striker is out for the next three games.
Papiss Cisse is a potential replacement but the Senegalese forward is currently “struggling” with a back problem. However, at the time of writing reports do suggest Newcastle are currently considering an £8 million offer from the Turkish side Trabzonspor.
Gabriel Obertan (knee) will miss out with Yoan Gouffran facing a late fitness test.
Sunderland on the other hand have the luxury of an almost fully fit squad, long-term absentees Carlos Cuellar (hip) is closing in on a return after almost three months out while goal-keeper Kieron Westwood is still recovering from shoulder surgery.
Phil Bardsley who picked up a minor back problem on Wednesday has been passed fit but The Black Cats will be without former captain Lee Cattermole. The midfielder picked up an injury last weekend and is currently linked with a proposed move to Stoke City.
A late decision will be made on striker Steven Fletcher; the Scottish international is managing an Achilles problem.
A huge game for us, a win will appease supporters in the short-term following another disastrous January transfer window; anything else and you better lock up your horses ….
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