Steve McClaren: Newcastle boss says derby record is unbearable

Newcastle manager Steve McClaren
McClaren took over as Newcastle manager during the summer

Newcastle boss Steve McClaren has written a letter to Magpies fans saying the club's recent record in derby games against Sunderland is "unbearable".

McClaren's side won their first league game of the campaign by beating Norwich 6-2 last week and face their big rivals at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

"I don't need reminding that we have lost the last five derbies," he said.

"The atmosphere is always incredible... we have to go there, stand up and be counted."

He added: "It wasn't so long ago that we won five in row and we are desperately keen and hugely motivated to turn the tide and bring the points back to Tyneside."

Newcastle beat Sunderland on five consecutive occasions between March 2002 and September 2006.

The Wear-Tyne derby on Sunday (kick-off 12:00 GMT) will be new Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce's first home game in charge of the Black Cats.

He is trying to lift them off the bottom of the Premier League table as his side chase their first top-flight victory of the season.

Newcastle are in 18th position with six points, three more than Sunderland.

McClaren said: "My message to the players is simple. Win every personal battle, handle the occasion and be disciplined. If we can do all that and put one or two of our chances away then we can come away with the positive result we all crave."