The words have been said, the preparations have been finalised and perfected and it’s time to go to war. The Wear-Tyne derby is set to be ignited for the 147th time tomorrow afternoon, and the powers that be have finally decided to televise the hottest game in the North East.

It’s the first fixture both sets of supporters look for when the list gets released every year, and it’s clearly no different for Magpies defender Steven Taylor, who has been vocal ahead of the clash in the weekend newspapers.
The lifelong Geordie has fired up his side ahead of the game, declaring that not one of the red and white side would get into the Newcastle side and none of his friends are Sunderland fans. Alan Pardew will likely use similar words to fire up his boys come 1.30pm tomorrow with the hope of repeating the 5-1 mauling in 2010.

The Newcastle gaffer will be boosted by the return of some of his top players too, with Tim Krul ready to return after an elbow injury and Fabricio Coloccini coming back into defence after regaining full fitness. The captain’s return could be vital for the Magpies, as they have looked slightly wobbly in their own final third in recent weeks.

However, Pardew’s biggest decision could come up front, as he decides which pair to start. Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba have been first choice all season as expected, but “The Mackem Slayer” Shola Ameobi comes into serious contention for his favourite game. The 30-year old has an amazing record against his team’s bitter rivals and with Papiss Cisse struggling to find the form that bagged him 13 goals last season, Ameobi could come into the starting XI.

As for that lot, all hopes will once again be pinned on Steven Fletcher to grab the goals needed for an upset, although Danny Simpson has also involved himself in the pre-match banter as he was shown on Twitter holding a sign that read “who is Steven Fletcher?” The former Manchester United man will be hoping to back up his dig when kick off finally comes tomorrow.

Other news for the Mackems is that former Newcastle calamity Titus Bramble is doubtful for the visit of his old side. Geordies around the land will be praying they get to see the portly defender in action once again though.
A win for Newcastle would keep bragging rights on Tyneside for another few months at least, while three points for the unwashed would springboard them into the top half…almost.