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Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Wednesday, 12 January 2011

No fear for Sunderland ahead of derby, says Zenden

Boudewijn Zenden
Zenden joined Sunderland on a free transfer in October 2009

Sunderland midfielder Boudewijn Zenden says the Black Cats should hold no fear going into Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby with Newcastle United.

The Wearsiders were beaten 5-1 at St James' Park in October, but won 2-1 when the sides last met at the Stadium of Light in 2008.

"There is absolutely no fear factor," Zenden told BBC Newcastle.

"It's just another game, the most important fixture is the next one, and in this case it's the derby."

The 34-year-old added: "We're not there [sixth in the Premier League] for nothing, we got the results.

"We know they're not far behind us either, it's another case of keeping the distance.

"We don't have to be afraid of anything, we can go into the game with a certain confidence, still recognising they have a good team and a good squad."

The former Netherlands international is yet to meet Newcastle as a Sunderland player, having watched on from the bench at St James' Park.

"I've always enjoyed these kind of games, that's what you play football for, the bigger the occasion, the bigger the crowd."

"If it's away or at home, the whole electricity that goes around the stadium is what you like. It's something that you will miss when you hang up your boots.

"I'm up for it and I'm eager to go, not because it's the derby but every weekend it's the same situation, I enjoy playing and the bigger the occasion the better."

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