SUNDERLAND and Newcastle United’s youngsters will go head to head tonight in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup at the Stadium of Light.
Kick-off is at 7pm, while entry to the game is priced at £3 for adults and £1 for over-65s and under-16s.
Who will be the key players to look out for on either side in the game?
The Gazette looks at three who could stand out on each team.
One of the stars of the Under-18 side, Rees Greenwood will undoubtedly be pinpointed as a danger-man for the Newcastle backline ahead of this Wear-Tyne derby.
The 18-year-old wideman, who can operate in a variety of attacking positions, poses a threat from either flank, and his combination of explosive pace and killer instinct in front of goal has proved a nightmare for defences this season.
Magpies coach Dave Watson will remember the damage Greenwood inflicted upon his side on the opening day of the season, when he bounced back from a missed penalty to fire a strike past goalkeeper Freddie Woodman before later setting up the winning goal for Ryan Ellison.
The highly-rated youngster, who has been involved with the Under-21s this season as well, has scored four goals this term and has often provided the spark and creative flair needed to break down stubborn defences.
A key figure in the centre of the park for Elliott Dickman’s side, Ethan Robson has certainly become a crucial part of Sunderland’s success so far this season.
His battling performances at the Academy of Light have earned him plaudits aplenty, and he has even been introduced into the Under-21 set-up.
Not just a tenacious tackler, Robson has weighed in with some important goals this season, including a Cruyff-esque turn-and-finish goal in the 3-1 victory at the Britannia Stadium in November.
He has also found the back of the net against Middlesbrough, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers (2) and Bolton Wanderers so far this season, and he will be looking to add to his healthy goal tally against Newcastle.
Irish goalkeeper James Talbot, who penned a two-year scholarship on Wearside in July 2013, has been excelling at the Academy of Light in recent months despite competition from impressive competitor Greg Purvis between the posts.
The 17-year-old has produced a string of excellent performances for the Black Cats, with a standout showing against Liverpool in October demonstrating his abilities.
He was arguably the man of the match in the 2-1 victory over the Reds, pulling off three incredible reaction saves, with one point-blank stop from Sergio Canos the pick of the bunch.
The teenager might have had his confidence knocked by the five goals shipped in his last outing against Middlesbrough two weeks ago, but should he focus and play to his potential, then the Magpies’ forward line will need to be on their game to get past him.
Sean Longstaff may have netted in his previous visit to the Academy of Light, but he will be hoping to score a meaningful goal this time out following Sunderland’s late winner in August.
The midfielder has been one of the stars of the Magpies’ season, scoring nine goals in 17 appearances for the Under-18 side.
The youngster also thrust himself into the spotlight with a hat-trick on his reserve team debut against Team Northumbria in the FA Senior Cup three months ago, and the homegrown talent is being touted for big things at the club in the near future.
Sunderland Under-18 coach Dickman will be looking to neutralise and stem the impact of Longstaff’s attacking game, but with the rich vein of form he’s in, that is easier said than done.
Probably the most high-profile name in the squad, but at the same time, arguably the one with the brightest future in the game.
Newcastle United have a recent history for producing a line of quality talent, and 17-year-old Callum Roberts looks to be next on the conveyor belt.
A permanent fixture in the Under-21 line-up this season, the North Shields-born striker was even granted his first-team debut when he appeared for the remaining 12 minutes of a 1-0 FA Cup reversal at Leicester City.
Blessed with pace, trickery and an eye for goal, Roberts is much more than just an instinctive goal poacher and has proven to be a potent threat in underage football for years.
He has rarely featured for the Under-18 side this term due to his commitments to the Under-21s and involvement in matchday squads with the first team, but a return to the fold saw him before Christmas saw him net a brace against Stoke City.
It was his only appearance of the season for Watson’s side, but it served to underline the ease and regularity with which he can score at this level.
Should he be involved tonight, there will be a few worried looks on Wearside.
The captain of the side, Scottish youth international Kyle Cameron has been a virtual ever-present in Watson’s line-up this term.
The 18-year-old has produced a series of rock-solid performances during the campaign, and is already being tipped for a big future in the game.
While there have been frailties in the Newcastle defence at times this season, there can be no doubting the excellence of Cameron, who looks likely to make the step up to the Under-21s in the near future.