Steve McClaren considers fielding big names in Newcastle’s secret derby against Sunderland

Emmanuel Riviere
Emmanuel Riviere

Steve McClaren will field a clutch of first-team players in this week’s behind-closed-doors derby.

Newcastle United and Sunderland will play a practice game at the Stadium of Light this week.

The two clubs do not have a game at the weekend – they are both out of the FA Cup – and McClaren and Sam Allardyce, his counterpart on Wearside, will top of the fitness of a number of players.

Fit-again trio Emmanuel Rivivere, Rolando Aarons and Steven Taylor could get run-outs for United, having returned from long-term injuries.

And former Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper, signed by Allardyce last week, could make his first appearance for Sunderland.

Allardyce could also field new signings Dame N’Doye and Jan Kirchhoff in the game, which will not be played in front of any spectators.

The two teams meet in the Premier League at St James’s Park on March 20.