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Who's got the bottle? - 00/00/0000

Who's got the bottle?
Local Pride

John Beresford expects the 126th Tyne-Wear derby to boil down to sheer "bottle" as Newcastle United and Sunderland lock horns for the first time since 2003.

The former United favourite never lost a derby encounter during his time at St James' Park, and has fond memories of doing the double in the 1992/93 season and emerging as a winner in the final ever Tyne-Wear clash at Roker Park, in 1996.

This time around Beresford feels the pressure is all on Newcastle, but thinks his old club have what it takes to see off Sunderland.

He said today: "This game will be all about who wants it most, and I suppose that means it all comes to down to who has the most bottle.

"It is one of those games where you have to forget about looking good, and it will be decided in the first 30 minutes if Newcastle can start strongest or, even better, get a goal in that period.

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"They have to be up for the fight because although Newcastle have the better players, Sunderland have good team spirit which could count on the day if United aren't careful."

With Geordies Lee Clark, Robbie Elliott, Alan Shearer and Steven Taylor all expected to play some part in the game, Beresford believes that their local pride will rub off in the dressing room to some of the club's newcomers and overseas stars.

He added: "It will be good to have them in the dressing room because they understand what it is all about.

"I know some of the foreign lads will say they have played in big games and other derbies, but this is different.

"When I was there I used to try to mix with the fans around the town, whether it was in the street or in the petrol station, and I loved the build-up to the big derby.

"I think once they are out on the pitch they will realise exactly what it means to the Geordies.

"The intensity of the match is incredible, and although games like Real Madrid v Barcelona and AC Milan v Inter are big games, maybe only the Old Firm up in Glasgow can rival this one."

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