He says excitement is already building in the region, with the game still almost a week away.
He said: “You can’t afford to get caught up in the occasion and sucked in by the atmosphere. We’re already talking about the Sunderland game in the dressing room and what a massive fixture it is for us.
“I think I feel it more than most because I’m a Geordie and a lifelong Newcastle fan, so I’ll be reminding the lads just how much it means to the people around here.
“Sunderland are playing some good football this season, and this is probably their best side since they had Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn up front. It’s certainly the strongest squad they’ve had since then.
"We know we’re in for a tough afternoon.
“Their summer signing Steven Fletcher is in great form - everything he hits at the moment finds the back of the net.
"They’ve got some very good players and we’ll have to be wary of that, but they’ll be equally worried about us.”