Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell insists that points are more important than bragging rights ahead the derby match with Newcastle next weekend.
The Black Cats are in the middle of another relegation scrap this campaign and currently find themselves just one place and one point above the Premier League drop zone.
The Wearsiders have an impressive record against their fierce rivals having won the last four meetings between the two sides.
Their most recent success came in December when an injury-time winner by Adam Johnson was enough to give the Black Cats a 1-0 victory at St James’ Park.
Since then Sunderland have only won once in the league, with that victory coming against Burnley at the Stadium of Light at the end of January, and midfielder Rodwell knows that three points is the most important thing for the club to take out of the upcoming North East derby.
He said: “The most important thing is staying up and getting as many points as possible. But I think all the focus now is on this game, everyone’s buzzing.”
The 24-year-old will be taking part in his first Tyne-Wear derby at the Stadium of Light when the two teams meet a week on Sunday and admits that he is really looking forward to the must-win match.
Rodwell added: “As a player, derby games are the first fixture that you look for when they’re announced.”
The Black Cats are slight favourites at 2.37 to make it five derby victories in a row with the Magpies available at 3.06. The draw is on offer at 3.11.