Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew plays down possibility of repeat Sunderland thrashing

In this fixture lasts season the Tyneside club beat the Black Cats 5-1 but the Magpies manager believes Sunday’s match will be a closer affair at the Sports Direct Arena

Alan Pardew has dismissed the chances of Newcastle United repeating last season’s 5-1 result against Sunderland.

The two rivals face each other on Sunday, but the Magpies boss attempted to mellow the expectations of fans.

Pardew, however, expects this weekend’s match to be a far more even affair.

“I don't think that's significant, really,” he told reporters on Friday. “It was a fantastic result, but we are never going to match that.

“But what we can hope for is that the performance level will be the same.

“The intensity and the feeling and the way they approached that game under Chris is very much what we want to copy.”

Pardew is yet to experience a Tyne-Wear derby at home, but he guided the team to a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light in their second Premier League match of this season.

He added: “The big hero last time was Ryan Taylor [whose free-kick won the game], a player who perhaps wasn't expecting to play and got the winning goal.

“The players are the heroes. We just manage, football managers, so I am hoping we get a new hero on Sunday.

“Hopefully it will be Papiss Cisse or Davide Santon or somebody different.”

Both teams head into the game on the back of poor results last weekend; Sunderland were crushed 4-0 by West Brom and Newcastle let a two-goal lead slip to draw against Wolves.

 “We aren't firing on all cylinders at the moment, I think our fans know that,” Pardew accepted.

“We got over the line against Villa when it was a bit tight, we didn't play very well at Tottenham and played well for 45 minutes against Wolves.

“We need to come into some form, really, if we are going to challenge the top half of the division, and I am looking to do that on Sunday.”

Newcastle sit sixth in the Premier League table after 26 games and the club have the Europa League, and even the Champions League, within their reach.

Pardew insisted that European qualification was not in forefront of the team’s mind, adding: “For us, it's not really a focus.

“This week is, everywhere we have been, it's been about the derby and we have got to get this out of the way and make sure we come away with credit in terms of our performance and the result.

“It won't define our season. We are in a good position regardless of winning or losing - but we want to win.”