Steve McClaren focused on winning not league table ahead of derby

Steve McClaren focused on winning not league table ahead of derby

Steve McClaren will not even allow himself to look at the Barclays Premier League table until Newcastle start winning on a regular basis.

The Magpies lifted themselves off the bottom as a result of last weekend’s 6-2 home victory over Norwich – their first of the season – and in the process, sent this Sunday’s hosts Sunderland back to the foot.

But while a derby win at the Stadium of Light could ease Newcastle closer to safety, head coach McClaren will not be casting an eye over the standings for some time yet.

He said: “I’m not even looking at the table at the present moment. It’s been a head-down week, focusing on the game. We won’t look at the league table until we get a few wins.

“There’s a long way to go in the season.”

If the Magpies are to make the short journey back from Wearside with a positive result, they will have to break a losing streak against their neighbours which was extended to five games home and away by Jermain Defoe’s lone strike on Wearside in April.

However, McClaren, who arrived at St James’ Park during the summer, will not look back to that game as he prepares his new-look team for a game in which form is often irrelevant.

He said: “We don’t do that on any other game, so we are not preparing for this any differently, and why should we? Why should we put any more importance on this? That would be saying that we are not putting important on any other game.

“In this Premier League, every game is vital and Sunday is no different. It’s a little bit special because the fans are also competing against each other.”

McClaren has no fresh injury concerns after defenders Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara and midfielder Cheick Tiote emerged from the Norwich game unscathed on their return from injury.

He has also been boosted by the sight of defender Kevin Mbabu and midfielder Rolando Aarons to training after hamstring and calf problems respectively, although the game could come too soon for them.

More in this Section

Italy’s rugby heartland at the epicentre of coronavirus ‘red zones’Italy’s rugby heartland at the epicentre of coronavirus ‘red zones’

Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla handed eight-game suspensionLeeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla handed eight-game suspension

Five key storylines to follow at the National Indoor ChampionshipsFive key storylines to follow at the National Indoor Championships

Weekend previews and predictions: Old rivalries renewed as League campaigns enter crunch phaseWeekend previews and predictions: Old rivalries renewed as League campaigns enter crunch phase


Lifestyle

Spring has sprung and a new Munster festival promises to celebrate its arrival with gusto, says Eve Kelliher.Spring has sprung: Munster festival promises to celebrate with gusto

The spotlight will fall on two Munster architects in a new showcase this year.Munster architects poised to build on their strengths

Prepare to fall for leather, whatever the weather, says Annmarie O'Connor.Trend of the week: It's always leather weather

The starting point for Michael West’s new play, in this joint production by Corn Exchange and the Abbey, is an alternative, though highly familiar, 1970s Ireland. You know, elections every few weeks, bad suits, wide ties, and a seedy nexus of politics and property development.Theatre Review: The Fall of the Second Republic at Abbey Theatre, Dublin

More From The Irish Examiner