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Premier League Preview: Sunderland - Newcastle

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Premier League Preview: Sunderland - Newcastle
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Premier League Preview: Sunderland - Newcastle
Gus Poyet faces a daunting test in his first home game in charge of Sunderland as the club welcomes Newcastle to the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats sit bottom of the Premier League, having taken just one point from their first eight Premier League games, and the Uruguayan, who took over from Paolo Di Canio on October 8, watched his new side fall to a disappointing 4-0 defeat at Swansea City last time out.

He will hope for a better performance against Sunderland's bitter rival and should take heart from a 3-0 win over Newcastle at St James's Park last season.

Poyet's side will have designs on replicating that result, the derby having also come in Di Canio's second game at the helm.

The former Brighton and Hove Albion boss could have a fully fit squad from which to choose, although defender Wes Brown faces a late fitness test as he recovers from a calf injury.

Sunderland's record against its neighbor is far from spectacular, with the club's last home win over Newcastle coming in a 2-1 victory in 2008.

The Magpies have already posted two away wins this campaign, overcoming Aston Villa and Cardiff City in what has been a decent start to the new term.

Alan Pardew's side displayed great spirit in last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Liverpool but it was a result that came at a cost as Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was sent off for a foul on Luis Suarez.

His subsequent absence leaves the visiting side potentially short of depth at the back on Sunday, with captain Fabricio Coloccini [groin] and fellow central defender Steven Taylor [hamstring] both described as "touch and go" for the contest by Pardew. Long-term absentees Ryan Taylor and Massadio Haidara [both knee] remain on the sidelines.

Newcastle has failed to score in just two games this season, with attacker Loic Remy netting five times since joining on loan from QPR.

And, with the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye - who scored in last season's corresponding fixture - also among the creative talents, Sunderland will need to be at its best if the club is to a keep clean sheet for the first time in 12 home Premier League matches.

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