Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is expecting an explosive introduction to the Tyne-Wear derby.
The 49-year-old will send his side out against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday knowing the Black Cats will be fighting tooth and nail to avenge their 5-1 humiliation at St James' Park in October. It will be his first taste of one of English football's traditional rivalries, but he is confident he knows exactly what to expect.
"It is certainly the biggest game I will have as Newcastle United manager this season," said Pardew.
"I have seen many Tyne-Wear derbies before and I know what they are - explosive.
"I have played in London derbies and last year I was at Southampton when we played Portsmouth for the first time in a few years. That was quite ferocious.
"However, I know that this will be on a much, much larger scale than that. I am sure of that. I am looking forward to it and I know the players are. They are determined to bounce back from the weekend and get a result."
Meanwhile, Pardew's pursuit of Birmingham winger Sebastian Larsson appears to have run into the buffers over the player's wage demands.
It is understood the Magpies have ended their interest in a player to whom they were given permission to speak over the weekend.
Larsson, who was also a target for Sunderland at one point, has been offered a new deal at St Andrew's, and there is also interest from clubs in Portugal and Spain.
The 25-year-old Swede played 87 minutes of Tuesday night's 2-1 Carling Cup semi-final first-leg defeat at West Ham.