Secret Toon v Mackem Derby!

Last updated : 26 January 2016 By Footy Mad - Editor

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The two sides both have a free weekend due to the fact they were knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round, and ChronicleLive understands they have agreed to take on one another at the Stadium of Light in the coming days.

What’s more, senior players from both sides are expected to take to the field - despite Sunderland hosting Manchester City next Tuesday, while the Magpies travel to Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday, February 3.

The Black Cats won a sixth-successive Wear-Tyne derby when they beat the Magpies 3-0 on their own patch in October, while the sides will take on one-another in a vital relegation clash at St James’ Park on March 20.

Yet, six weeks before that huge North East derby - once again a relegation ‘six-pointer’ - the teams are set to face one another in a proposed friendly.

Often both clubs take on lower-league or non-league North East sides in behind-closed-doors friendlies during these ‘free’ weeks in the calendar, but facing their local top-flight rivals in such a clash is unprecedented in recent years.

Magpies boss Steve McClaren and Black Cats manager Sam Allardyce were keen to get this friendly organised, though it is understood there are members of backroom staff at both clubs who are sceptical about the merits of such a fixture.

Fear of injuries - with Newcastle in particular already having around a dozen players in the treatment room - the potential ramifications of a loss for either side, plus the relatively close proximity to both club’s next Premier League fixtures, are among the reservations of some people associated with the North East rivals.