Benitez Braces For First Home Game As Newcastle Boss Vs Sunderland

Rafael Benitez will take charge of his first home game at Newcastle United since he replaced Steve McClaren as the club's boss against fierce rivals, Sunderland on Sunday afternoon

The Spaniard spoke to the media during his Friday's press conference ahead of the Tyne-Wear game.

"We know every game between now and the end of the season is important, but especially this one," says Benitez as quoted by the Shieldgazette.com.

"A derby is massive for the city and the fans. We have to try and win. The fans are crucial for us. We have to stick together and be sure that every fan can help the players on the pitch.

"The players have commitment, they are working very hard and are trying to understand our ideas of what we want to do," he remarked.

Newcastle United have been handed a double fitness boost ahead of the derby.Benitez also revealed at his pre-match press conference that both defender Chancel Mbemba and striker Papiss Cisse have trained with the first team squad ahead of Sunday's crunch Premier League clash at St James's Park.

And they are now both in contention for a start against Sunderland which kick off 2.30pmNigerian time.

Captain Fabricio Coloccini remains a major doubt and hasn't trained ahead of the game, while Benitez says Steven Taylor should be okay for the game despite not taking part in training today (Friday).

"Chancel Mbemba has trained, Fabricio Coloccini has not. Steven Taylor will be okay. We know every game between now and the end of the season is important, but especially this one. A derby is massive for the city and the fans. We have to try and win," the former Real Madrid and Napoli manager said.
 

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