Newcastle chairman Mort backs Sunderland to be Premiership regular

Newcastle United chairman Chris Mort believes this weekend's derby against Sunderland will be the first of many going into the future for the clubs' new owners.

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Sunderland's return under Roy Keane has ensured a renewal of the derby hostilities between two clubs with new owners, chairmen and managers.

Mort said: "Niall Quinn (chairman) and Roy Keane have been taking the club forward over their period of ownership.

"They have new owners and a new chairman too, and their regime in charge is 12 months ahead of ours.

"They have taken the club forward and got their place in the Premier League. They should be a side strong enough to keep their place."

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley will be at the Stadium of Light on Saturday and despite suggestions he will not be allowed to wear his Newcastle shirt - as has done so throughout the season - in the directors' box he fully intends to.

Mort said: "Mike will be there on Saturday, definitely. As long as the Sunderland board do not mind, he will definitely wear his Newcastle shirt.

"Mike is not wearing his shirt to games to embarrass the opposition or put them in a difficult position.

"He wants to be, and sees himself as, a Newcastle United supporter and knows fans wear the shirts - he wants to be part of that."

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