Adam Johnson can't wait to return to his native north-east - and help put City's season back on track after the disappointment of Everton.
The Blues winger is relishing the Boxing Day trip to promoted Newcastle as Roberto Mancini's team tackle a self-imposed target of nine points from three holiday games to regain their momentum.
Easington-born Adam, who was the black-and-white sheep of the Johnson family, said: "It's always great to get back up there. I played for Newcastle as a kid so I followed them as well, and I was ball boy a few times.
"David Ginola was my big favourite. I loved his skills and the way he played. I had his autograph. He was so good to watch that I'd watch him train.
"I leant towards Newcastle even though all my family are all Sunderland supporters. I like both teams, it's hard for me to separate them. My folks will be there supporting me on Boxing Day!"
AJ and his team-mates are looking for a hat-trick of wins over Newcastle, Aston Villa and Blackpool after the frustration fo failing to rescue even a point against Everton on Monday night.
He admitted: "We need to bounce back from a bad result. I think Everton only had two shots at goal, but there were mistakes on our part. Even so, another day we'd probably have scored four. It was one of those nights.
"We have to put it behind us now and remember that there are still plenty of games to be played.
"If we get the three wins we want then everyone will forget about the Everton result, and we'll be there or thereabouts at the top of the table going into the New Year. One result doesn't make it all change."
But he warns that Newcastle will be tough adversaries: "It's my favourite place to play, I'm excited, but they are making it difficult for teams. I always thought they'd stay up comfortably, they're getting back to what they were."