jamie Potts field goal Sunderland Spartans american football

Sunderland Spartans face off against local rivals Newcastle Raiders this Sunday hoping to kick-start their season.

After a narrow 6-2 defeat to last season’s league winners Glasgow in their opening game, the Spartans have been defeated by Hull and Northumbria in games since.

Team president Sherief El-Shakankery believes the sides potential can lead to their first win.

“The potential is definitely there and we’ll just have to see what happens on the day.

“We would definitely love to beat Newcastle and additional incentive is that our ex-coach (Mark Wright) is now the offensive coach for Newcastle.”

Wright also played wide-receiver for the Spartans before going into coaching.

Despite the slow start, running-back Misba Islam is relishing the game.

“I’m hoping come this Sunday we meet that potential and beat Newcastle.

“It’s a massive game. So much on this not only the rivalry. But it finally feels like the team is clicking now.

“A lot of our players know and have played with a lot of their coaches, including Mark Wright.”

Also part of the Raiders’ coaching staff is former-Sunderland quarterback Nick Whitehead, who will be coming face-to-face with many familiar faces as he represented the Spartans just last season.

“This game is going to be interesting. If there’s one game I’d ask supporters and fans to come watch, it’s this one. I can guarantee there’s going be some surprises and upsets.”

The game kicks off at 1pm on Sunday December 11 at Gateshead Stadium.