He said: "It's a derby match and we're as excited as the fans about it. There's also an added incentive in it that we're looking to bounce back from last week's defeat at West Ham.
"Sunderland have just come up and I think it's great for the North-east that all three teams are in the Premier League but we're aiming to finish above them both. Beating Sunderland would go a long way to making that happen."
Looking back to that defeat two years ago, he added: "They were at a stage where they were struggling, but it was inevitable that they would win. I think we had any number of shots but couldn't score while they had two and scored them both - but sometimes those things happen."