LONDON (Reuters) – New Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce hopes history will repeat itself when his side face Newcastle United on Sunday, looking to make it six wins in a row over their north-east rivals.
Both clubs are in the Premier League’s bottom three with Sunderland propping up the table on three points from nine games and still seeking their first win.
Newcastle are two places above them on six points after beating Norwich City 6-2 for their first victory of the league campaign last week.
Allardyce hopes, however, that Sunderland’s recent run of success against their greatest rivals will stand them in good stead.
“I want history to follow itself,” Allardyce, who has become the first man ever to manage both Sunderland and Newcastle, told reporters on Friday.
In a remarkable coincidence, Sunderland’s previous three managers — Dick Advocaat, Gus Poyet and Paulo Di Canio — have all played and beaten Newcastle in their second game in charge.
“Because we get two pieces of history — we’ve won five on the trot, and the manager’s second game has always been a win against Newcastle,” he said.
“So I am hoping my job is already done for me and the players carry on where they have done brilliantly over the last five games — and I keep up the manager’s record as a new manager…
“It is all about the players, it is my job to remind them of the importance of the game and to control their emotions and to play the game in the right way.
“Hopefully, they can achieve what they have achieved brilliantly in the last five outings and get an outstanding victory which is what everybody wants.”
Sunderland won the last derby 1-0 at the Stadium of Light in April when Jermain Defoe scored the only goal with a stunning volley from the edge of the penalty area.
That began a good run of results that saved Sunderland from relegation under previous boss Advocaat.
“Most of the players were here last season so I sincerely hope they can remember exactly how they went about their job and how they managed to forge what was a very important victory and probably a turning-point for the club’s survival,” Allardyce said.
Sunderland lost 1-0 at West Bromwich Albion in Allardyce’s first game in charge last week.
(Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Ed Osmond)