Excitement is growing on Tyneside as Sunderland and Newcastle United prepare to battle it out in the FA Cup but all the hype will turn into apprehension at St James' Park if Michael Beale's Black Cats turn over their Premier League counterparts tomorrow lunchtime. 

It's the first derby between the two rivals in eight years in the Premier League that ended 1-1 and the Magpies have slipped to ninth in England's top-flight having just won one of their last nine matches. 

As much as the losing run has been a joy to behold around the streets of Sunderland recently, the Stadium of Light side's owners haven't enjoyed such fun since the turn of the year as they apologised for putting Newcastle United branding in a bar reserved for hospitality guests. 

  • "We need something to spark us back into life"

The talking is almost over and Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe is looking to eradicate their poor run of results as they make the short journey on the A184 tomorrow morning. 

Howe said: "We don't need reminding of how painful losing can be because, of course, of what has happened recently. 

"We need something to spark us back into life - and there’s nothing better than this game. It’s important we get back to winning ways. It can certainly reboot us and just change the external - and even internal - view of ourselves because it can change very quickly. 

"Confidence is a very fragile thing for the players as well, so anything that helps them re-find their best rhythm as quickly as possible is what we’re seeking.

"We know the importance of this game in the season for us, so I can't downplay it. As much as I'd like to, I can't downplay it from where we stand today, especially after recent results, so we're going to give everything we can to be at our best.’

“You want your away support to be there in numbers and they have been this season. They have been incredible on the road for us. We want to repay that support with our best performance. I am very proud of our supporters, they have given us a lot.

“I am expecting a good performance from us, we are ready. We know what this fixture means to everyone. We know the importance of this fixture. The players know what it means. For us, it is important that we get back to winning ways.

"It's the next opportunity to return to our best form, that's the way we look at it, we're determined and there's a real resolve with the players, I've seen that with the players, our away form has been a concern and it's an opportunity to address that. 

"We aren't running on empty, that's something that's been used externally, we have to block out all distractions and collectively and individually be at our best levels.

“The Sunderland game is our next opportunity to turn our form around. We are very much focusing on our performance and trying to deliver the best account of ourselves we can.

“It is our opportunity to progress in the cup competition. We have to individually be at our best levels. Sunderland are a very good team, full of young and bright prospects. We do not underestimate the challenge; we have given them full respect in our preparation.

“But, of course, it is going to be about what we can do and how we can play and execute our plan.”

Getty: NurPhoto
Getty: NurPhoto

Howe confirmed to the assembled media that Kieran Tripper will face a late fitness test before the derby tomorrow but Callum Wilson is definitely ruled out for the assignment at the Stadium of Light. 

“Kieran Trippier – we are going to give him a late test today and see where he is tomorrow. Callum Wilson isn’t too bad but enough to keep him out of this game and our next game – but hopefully get him back for the game with Aston Villa.”