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Sunderland's Fletcher desperate to prove fitness for Tyne-Wear derby

Steven Fletcher is determined to be fit for Sunderland's big clash with Newcastle United.

The Scottish striker has missed the past two Tyne-Wear derbies with the Magpies at St James' Park which have resulted into victories for his Black Cats.

Fletcher, who scored when Sunderland won 2-1 at home in October 2013, has been struggling with niggling injuries in recent times but is desperate to get back for the short trip to Tyneside this Sunday.

"I missed both 3-0 wins through injury so I want to be involved next week," Fletcher told the Northern Echo.

"I'm looking forward to going there. I think I've only played there once before for Wolves so it should be a good atmosphere.

"I had a little niggle after the Man City game so I missed the Liverpool game, which was disappointing, but I got on against West Ham and I feel fully fit now.

"We're used to these situations. The fans look forward to this, it's the one they look out for when the fixtures come out. We'll be prepared.

"We've got a good record, but they've also picked up a bit of form so it should be a good game.

"Every away game for us the pressure is off and this is no different. We'll prepare for it like any other game. There's no point putting extra pressure on ourselves because that won't help. We'll prepare right."

Sunderland, who sit 15th on the Premier League table, have not lost to the eighth-placed Toon since their 1-0 reverse at the Stadium of Light in August 2011.

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