JOHN Carver’s challenged Moussa Sissoko to lead Newcastle United out of its derby doldrums out the Stadium of Light.
Sissoko will captain Carver’s side against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light tomorrow in the absence of suspended skipper Fabricio Coloccini.
There are one or two lads in that dressing room who need a good game and to impose themselves in the derby, because they’ve not done in the past and not had a good time in the past.John Carver
The midfielder, yet to taste victory in a Wear-Tyne fixture, hasn’t been a significant influence on the pitch in the meetings between the two clubs.
And the battle between the 25-year-old and Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole, back from suspension, will be crucial in determining the outcome of the fixture.
“It’ll be nice for Moussa to impose his presence,” said Carver.
“He’s got a big presence. There are one or two lads in that dressing room who need a good game and to impose themselves in the derby, because they’ve not done in the past and not had a good time in the past.
“If we get enough payers imposing themselves on the game then we have a good chance of winning it.”
The statistics for the the club’s last four games against Sunderland are “damning”, with Newcastle having been out-worked by their great rivals.
Carver said: “I won’t accept that. That is something I’ll be driving home in that dressing room when we have our team meeting and before we go out on the pitch.
“The workrate, the effort, the commitment – that’s all I hear after a game when you’ve lost.
“You hear about the word commitment, you hear that you had no energy or enthusiasm and they didn’t understand what it meant – that’s what I hear all the time.
“I’ll make sure, or I’ll try my best to understand that it’s what people think and it’s damning.
“It’s a damning situation on them as professional footballers.”
Carver feels Sunderland have had a better derby “mentality” during their winning streak.
“It’s not about handling the pressure, it’s about where you are mentally and where your mindset is,” he said. “In the last four games, Sunderland have out worked us and that’s not a good stat to have.
“I’ll making sure that doesn’t happen again, and I’ll be using a whip to make sure we don’t get out-worked.”