Football - Pardew thriving on rivalry

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew will attempt to plunge Sunderland deeper into relegation trouble even though he believes the Barclays Premier League needs both north-east clubs.

PA Sport

The two sides will meet at St James' Park on Sunday with the stakes as high as they have been for years.

Victory for Newcastle - they last lost to their neighbours on home turf in 2000 - would leave the Black Cats facing an uphill task to drag themselves out of trouble with just five games remaining, while an away win would suck the Magpies back into the mix.

Pardew's men, however, will run out buoyed by the manner of their midweek exit from the Europa League after pushing Benfica all the way in a bid to reach the semi-finals, and confident they have put the club back on the continental map.

The 51-year-old said: "Sometimes, the north-east gets a little bit left to one side. The Manchester clubs get a lot of attention and London clubs do, and it's nice that we have raised the profile of north-east football.

"For me, this fixture is important because I think it's great for the Premier League to have Newcastle and Sunderland in the division - and I hope we both are for next year.

"We are both fighting for that at the moment."

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