EDDIE HOWE is hoping Newcastle United’s Wear-Tyne derby win over Sunderland will act as a springboard for the remainder of the season.

The Magpies went into yesterday’s derby under something of a cloud, having lost six of their previous seven matches and crashed out of both the Champions League and Carabao Cup in the space of the previous month.

However, they could not have been more comfortable winners at the Stadium of Light, with their dominance being rewarded through a Dan Ballard own goal and two second-half strikes from Alexander Isak.

The Premier League challenges continue to come thick and fast, with Newcastle’s next two matches pitting them against Manchester City and Aston Villa, but having watched his side end Sunderland’s nine-game unbeaten run in the derby, Howe is hoping the much-needed positive momentum will act a catalyst for more success.

“Hopefully it’ll act as a launchpad for us,” said the Magpies head coach. “That’s how we have to look at it. Naturally, when you don't win for a period of time, confidence can be affected. Our players are the same as any others.

“This will have done them the world of good. We've not just won the game, we've performed well, we've scored goals, we've kept a clean sheet, so all round, it was a very good day.


“The most important thing now is that the confidence levels return to what they were early in the season. We were playing some brilliant football at times, and the aim is to get back to that.”

As well as ending Newcastle’s run of nine derby matches without a victory, yesterday’s success also enabled Howe to celebrate his first FA Cup victory as Magpies boss.

His two previous FA Cup games had resulted in embarrassing defeats to Cambridge United and Sheffield Wednesday, and while claiming a European spot via the Premier League will remain a major priority in the second half of the season, the FA Cup could now prove a key competition, with the fourth-round draw due to take place tomorrow.

“We’d love to have a good FA Cup run,” said Howe. “The third round of the FA Cup has not been kind to us in the last few years, with two difficult moments for us. Those moments actually helped us grow though.

“Now, we stand here and we know we needed to win this game. I’m delighted to do that, and we’d love a run in the FA Cup. It’s an important competition for us now.”

It was also important that Newcastle finally secured a win over Sunderland, with the last month having been challenging for players and fans alike.

“It means a lot,” said Howe. “This fixture is hugely important for everyone connected with the club, none more so than our supporters. You could see the numbers they supported us with, and the noise they made and dedication they showed. We haven’t given them a lot to shout about on the road this year, so I was delighted to be able to do that.”