Pardew hopes for calm derby
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has appealed for cool heads from both sets of players and fans during tomorrow's local derby at Sunderland. Pardew is beginning to understand the passion of the Tyne-Wear derby after two years in charge of Newcastle and he expects another tumultuous encounter at the Stadium of Light this weekend.
The fixture may not have as much global recognition as the Manchester, Merseyside or Glasgow derbies or the Milan derby in Italy, but the battle for supremacy in the north-east of England is just as intense as those more glamorous fixtures.
Pardew knows that the players' behaviour is also crucial to ensuring the atmosphere doesn't boil over. "It's one of the great derbies of the world, you have to say that," Pardew said. "I have been to many, many games, including the Glasgow derby, and this game is as venomous as that.
"It makes it electric. You don't want to lose that passion, but hopefully at the end of the game, everybody shakes hands, the better team has won and we all go home safely. That's important."
In the circumstances, Pardew will attempt to set an example on the sideline this time around after angry exchanges between the two benches at St James' Park in March, during which he admits he allowed himself to be carried away.
"There is a little bit of passion flying about and it needs to be conducted in the right manner by players and staff alike," Pardew said. "But emotions sometimes get the better of you, like it did with me at the end of last season's game when we scored in the last minute. It's an emotive game, we want to win.
"Both myself and (Sunderland manager) Martin O'Neill will be very keen that 11 men end the game. You have got to control your emotions because at some point, there will be a flash-point in the game. There will be a tackle that's mis-timed and probably look worse than it is, and it will be how you behave when that incident occurs."
Newcastle, who have lost only once in the league at Sunderland since 1980, hold the upper hand in recent derby clashes - going unbeaten since 2008 - but it is their resurgence under Pardew that has impressed O'Neill.
The Black Cats have their own ambitions of establishing themselves in the upper reaches of the table and O'Neill believes the recent success of their near neighbours should inspire Sunderland to believe they too can make that leap. "Of course, it should do, absolutely. We should take our lead from them in that sense," he said.
"Alan Pardew won the Manager of the Year and deserved that, so it was a terrific effort. They deserved all the accolades going, there's no question about that. It should give us the type of lift that we would need around here because our aim is at some stage or another to be at least the best side here in this part of the world, that's number one.
"If you are a better side than Newcastle at some stage or another and they are continuing to make progress, that must mean you are doing okay."