Newcastle United defender Danny Simpson says the derby against Sunderland is always something special.

He rates the Tyne-Wear derby as one of the most exciting ­contests he has ever played in.

He said: "I've played in three and never experienced any other game like it. It means so much to the people here. It's like a religion.

"All you want to do is win and we've got a great chance to do the double over them. I was at ­Sunderland for four months and we didn't lose a game. We won the league and it was a good time, but it was a long time ago now.

"My time at Sunderland kicked on my career so I'll always be grateful for that."