Newcastle United Head Coach Steve McClaren says his team have been focused on 'nothing but Sunderland' ahead of this weekend's Wear-Tyne derby.
- Watch the full press conference ahead of Sunday's game at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland AFC have welcomed Hartlepool born Mark Taylor as the club’s Performance Director.
His role will take responsibility for key areas of the club’s football operation, including sports science, strength and conditioning, medical, performance analysis and the first-team coaching staff.
Mark Taylor comes to Wearside having spent over 20 years in English football.
Completing the backroom line-up, Paul Bracewell undertakes the role of assistant to Sam Allardyce and Robbie Stockdale has been appointed as first-team coach.
“There is a good group of players and staff at the club. Of course we all recognise we are in a special situation at the moment and we know we need to improve. That is the challenge ahead for me and everyone involved with the first-team and I can’t wait to get started.”
Sunderland Football Club have issued an update to remind fans that the Wear Tyne derby will be an all-ticket game.
The club has said cash turnstiles will not be operating at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
Tickets to the game are very nearly sold out for the noon kick off.
- Follow @itvtynetees for the latest derby news.
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There's speculation this morning that Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat may quit the club after his team's disappointing start to the season.
The Black Cats face West Ham at the Stadium of Light this afternoon. Advocaat is reported to be 'considering his position' and may resign irrespective of today's scoreline.
It's only four months since Sunderland fans sent flowers to Mr Advocaat's wife for apparently supporting his decision to stay at the club.
Fans reacted to the rumours as they arrived at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.
On the surface it's an open and shut case. The team that can't win a premier league match, home or away, against the team that always wins on it's travels. West Ham have already emerged victorious this season from trips to Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. The visit to Wearside will not have them quaking in their boots.
But is it that straightforward ? Slaven Bilic, the West Ham manager doesn't think so. In his press conference this week he said the trip to Sunderland was the Hammers toughest test of the season. "Increased expectations, no room for complacency etc. etc." Now that's all well and good, but you and I know fine well he was lying. He was being counter-intuitive and sending a badly disguised message to his players. He was really saying "As long as we turn up with our game head on, we will win this game."
But what if he's double, double bluffed himself ? If the Hammers begin to struggle on Saturday, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Sunderland start well maybe the Black cats players and fans start to think "Bilic was right."
Or maybe not. For what it's worth, I DON'T think this is an open and shut case. True, Sunderland need to defend better, or at least not as badly. But I cling to the idea Sunderland aren't actually as bad and as hopeless a case as a lot of people seem to think. This is an opportunity for the Black Cats, no matter what the form book says.
- Sunderland Head Coach Dick Advocaat looks ahead to Saturday's home game against West Ham
Bookmakers William Hill have slashed the odds on Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat being the first Premier League manager to leave his job to 6/4.
Behind him are Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren and Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers who are level in the betting at 2/1.
"It hasn't been a great third round for the under pressure managers but it is so close as to who will leave first out of Advocaat, Rodgers and McClaren"
Both Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have had disappointing starts to the season. Newcastle were knocked out of the Capital One cup on Wednesday, September 23, after losing 1-0 at home to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, their fourth consecutive loss. Sunderland, meanwhile, suffered a heavy defeat in round three, losing 4-1 to Manchester City.
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Manchester City heaped more misery on Sunderland as they eased to a 4-1 Capital One Cup win at the Stadium of Light.
Manuel Pellegrini's men responded superbly to their shock Premier League loss to West Ham at the weekend by scoring four goals in the opening 36 minutes.
Sergio Aguero fired home a ninth-minute penalty to give City the lead and the excellent Kevin De Bruyne made it two on 25 by finishing off a swift counter-attack.
Vito Mannone conceded an unfortunate own goal eight minutes later after Raheem Sterling's effort struck the woodwork and rebounded into the net off the keeper's back.
Sterling got on the scoresheet himself three minutes later and while Dick Advocaat's men grabbed a second-half consolation through Ola Toivonen it did little to ease the mood of gloom on Wearside.