Black Cats to follow Toon's lead - O'Neill
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill will send his players into derby battle telling them they can emulate Newcastle's return to prominence.
The Magpies defied the odds last season to finish in fifth place in the Barclays Premier League and secure European football just two years after fighting their way back into the top flight in the wake of relegation. Under Texan owner and chairman Ellis Short, the Black Cats have their own ambitions of establishing themselves in the upper reaches of the table, and while the rivalry will be intense at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, O'Neill insists the recent success of their near neighbours should inspire the Wearsiders to believe they too can make that leap. He said: "Of course, it should do, absolutely. We should take our lead from them in that sense. "It was an exceptional season. This time last year, I wasn't working, so I was looking at it from afar, and perhaps when the results were coming in each weekend and Newcastle were still going strongly, I maybe felt, like a lot of people, they would do well to keep it going. "But they did, they kept it going. Of course, they had a few hiccups along the way, but fought back again, won big games when they weren't playing well - and that's always a sign of a half-decent side."