It is Sunderland v Newcastle at 1pm on Friday afternoon, a reserve team derby set to be played behind closed doors.

It was moved from Monday, due to the close proximity to Sunderland’s first team taking on Newcastle United’s Under 21s on Tuesday in the Checkatrade derby.

Sandwiched in between these two ‘derbies’, is the Newcastle v Blackburn FA Cup tie.

With Rafa Benitez expected to make a number of changes, the team selection for Friday’s reserve team match was always going to be interesting.

A 1pm kick-off, the team and subs have been announced by the club:

NUFC Under-23 team v Sunderland AFC: Huuhtanen, Walters, Gibson, M. Longstaff, Bailey (c), Watts, Allan, Sangare, Sorensen, Roberts, Wilson

Substitutes: Langley, McEntee, Longelo, Juanito, Toure

The stand out one for many Newcastle fans is that Elias Sorensen plays today, a lot of supporters would no doubt have liked to see him at least on the bench against Blackburn, but that looks ruled out now.

Maybe more of a surprise in reality, is that Callum Roberts is named today.

The winger has been in excellent for this season and set to turn 22 in April, he surely has zero future at Newcastle United if Rafa is not even going to include him in the FA Cup squad on Saturday.

Players who are missing from today’s reserve team and subs though, are the likes of Freddie Woodman, Sean Longstaff and Jamie Sterry, who could all very likely start against Blackburn.

Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez is desperate to shift Achraf Lazaar and he has featured for the reserves this season but isn’t named either, so a possibility he could also be included in squad for the FA Cup match, to show clubs he is fit and available to move on in January.

Newcastle United official announcement – 24 December 2019:

‘Newcastle United’s Premier League 2 derby at Sunderland has a new date and venue.

The young Magpies were due to face their Black Cats counterparts at the Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground on Monday, 7th January 2019.

But Newcastle’s second-string have been drawn against Sunderland’s first team in the Checkatrade Trophy – kick-off at the Stadium of Light is 7.45pm (GMT) on Tuesday, 8th January – so the Premier League 2 fixture has now been brought forward.

It will now be played at 1pm (GMT) on Friday, 4th January. The venue will be Sunderland’s Academy of Light training ground, with no public admission.

The Magpies were 5-0 winners when the two sides met at St. James’ Park in August.

For clarification, the Checkatrade Trophy tie between Sunderland’s first team and Newcastle’s under-21 side remains at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday, 8th January with a 7.45pm (GMT) kick-off.’