Fletcher relishing derby clash
Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher is determined to make up for lost time as he goes in search of a fourth successive derby victory over Newcastle.
The 27-year-old Scotland international scored in last season's 2-1 victory over the Black Cats' arch-rivals at the Stadium of Light, but missed their back-to-back 3-0 wins at St James' Park through injury and is hoping to play his part in a famous hat-trick on Tyneside this Sunday.
He told the Sunderland Echo: "I've missed both 3-0s when we've been there, so I'm looking forward to it. I wasn't even at St James' for both of them. I was stuck watching television with a moon boot on.
"But we've got confidence that we can go there and win it again. We've done it before, so why can't we do it again?
"There's a lot of confidence around the team at the moment, despite the draws. We're keeping the door shut at the back, which is great for the defenders. We know if we can get a few goals, then we'll pick up a win."
Gus Poyet's men will run out at St James' having recorded their 10th draw in 16 Barclays Premier League outings so far this season after West Ham left Wearside with a point on Saturday.
They have won only two league games to date and while that is a concern, Fletcher prefers to concentrate on the positives.
He said: "It depends how you look at it. We got another point on the board against West Ham. I know we've got a lot of draws this year, but last year we were losing these games.
"Now we're keeping the door shut at the back, which is good, and we just need to take our chances and convert them into wins."