Kevin Kilbane has claimed that Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has a better relationship with fans than David Moyes does at Sunderland.
The Black Cats are in a similar position to where their North-East rivals were last season in that they are on the verge of getting relegated from the Premier League.
In the 2015-16 campaign, Benitez was appointed Magpies boss in March, and even though the club failed to retain their top-flight status, there was confidence that the Spaniard would immediately guide them back.
It seems as though the confidence was well placed as Newcastle have a 10-point cushion in the automatic promotion spots with five games left to play.
In contrast, Sunderland are 10 points from safety in the Premier League with seven matches left on their schedule.
Kilbane believes that Moyes, who had failed spells at Manchester United and Real Sociedad after leaving Everton in 2013, does not carry the same aura as his counterpart.
He told BBC Sport:
“[Moyes] has not really done much to win the fans over with anything he has said, and that is the biggest difference between his situation and Rafael Benitez’s at Newcastle when they went down last year.
“There was a real positivity about Benitez when he was appointed in March 2016 and, at the end of the season, the fans were right behind him, saying the club had to persuade him to stay. They did, and they are reaping the rewards now.
“I don’t think there is anything like the same feeling towards Moyes on Wearside as there was towards Benitez on Tyneside.”