STEVEN Fltecher says he can’t wait to taste the atmosphere of a Wear-Tyne derby again – especially if Sunderland win.
The mouth-watering clash is still 11 days away with the Premier League having broken up for international fixtures.
But the game is dominating the thoughts of fans from both clubs – and also the players.
Fletcher is no different. Despite being away on international duty with Scotland, and focusing on trying to qualify for Euro 2016, he revealed he has one eye on the clash with Newcastle United on Easter Sunday.
And he says the Premier League break has come at a good time for Sunderland, as it will allow new manager Dick Advocaat the chance to work hard on the training ground with the players who remain on Wearside.
Advocaat had just a couple of days working with the Black Cats squad last week after his swift appointment as replacement for sacked head coach Gus Poyet, and the fortnight between games will allow him to get more of his ideas across to the Sunderland squad.
You know what the city is like when this game comes around. It’s a fantastic atmosphere.Steven Fletcher
“It’s a massive game to come back to,” admitted Fletcher.
“I think it’s good that we’re getting a little break and the manager can get some training sessions into the team.
“That will help.
“But it’s a game that we can look forward to next week.”
Fletcher could lead the line for Scotland in Sunday’s Group D Euro 16 qualifier against minnows Gibraltar.
If he does, he’ll be hopeful of getting on the scoresheet, having found the net just four times this season with Sunderland struggling for goals at the bottom of the table.
However, despite the ongoing problems, Fletcher is confident the side will rise to the occasion next week – and continue their form against Newcastle which has seen them win the last four derbies.
“You know what the city is like when this game comes around,” he added. “It’s a fantastic atmosphere.
“We’ve had some good times in these games over the last couple of seasons, so hopefully we can keep that going.”
Fletcher scored in the last derby at the Stadium of Light last season, but is without a goal since his brace against Crystal Palace in November.