SUNDERLAND were done a favour by rivals Newcastle United when it comes to exposing Oxford United’s weaknesses, Phil Parkinson believes.

The Black Cats visit the Kassam Stadium looking for a fourth win in five matches to strengthen their play-off push in Sky Bet League One.

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And when it comes to analysing their hosts, Parkinson, pictured, had a helping hand from Newcastle, who beat the U’s 3-2 after extra time in an Emirates FA Cup replay last week.

Parkinson said: “I think more or less it summed Oxford up.

“They have some very good footballers, but at times they looked vulnerable defensively and Newcastle exploited that.

“We have to learn from teams who have done well against Oxford and it’s important in every game to look at where they are weak, but also where they’re strong to make sure we’re switched on to that.”

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Former United star Chris Maguire has been instrumental in Sunderland’s recent good form, but could be a doubt tomorrow after coming off in Tuesday’s 3-0 win against Rochdale with a dead leg.

Parkinson added: “Every three points is huge. Is one bigger than the other?

“If they are against a potential rival then of course you’re stopping them getting themselves going again.

“It’s another crucial game and we’re looking forward to it.”