AYOZE Perez is looking to write himself into derby folklore at the Stadium of Light.
The Newcastle United forward is in line to start against Sunderland in Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby.
Hopefully, I will be on the pitch. I need to train, work hard and try to get three points.Ayoze Perez
Perez is desperate to wipe out the memory of the club’s home defeat earlier this season.
Ther 21-year-old returned to John Carver’s starting XI in the club’s last match against Arsenal after a three-game spell on the bench.
And he is under no illusions about the importance of the derby to the club and its fanbase after four demoralising losses to Sunderland, with a fifth successive loss unthinkable to the club’s support.
“We’ll try to win it,” Perez told the Gazette. “It’s a big game – we all know that.
“We need to work very hard and try to get three points.
“Hopefully, I will be on the pitch. I need to train, work hard and try to get three points.”
Relegation-threatened Sunderland replaced head coach Gus Poyet with Dick Advocaat this month in an attempt to halt their slide towards the Championship.
And the derby will be the first home game for Advocaat, who has previously managed Rangers in Old Firm games against Celtic.
But events on Wearside are not preoccupying Perez, who is focused on the job in hand north of the Tyne over the coming days.
“We need to look at ourselves – that’s all,” said the Spain Under-21 international. “We need to train, work hard and prepare for the match. It’s a big match for everyone.”
Newcastle, then managed by Alan Pardew, were beaten by a 90th-minute goal from boyhood United fan Adam Johnson in the Tyne-Wear derby in December.
Perez and his team-mates were caught by a counter-attack as they pressed for a winner.
“We had a lot of chances (against Sunderland at home), but we didn’t score,” said Perez.
“They counter-attacked and scored. We were very disappointed, but we have another opportunity to get three points.”
Carver – who felt jaded Perez needed a rest after a gruelling introduction to English football after his move from Tenerife last summer – hopes to have Rolando Aarons and Mehdi Abeid available for the derby.