BOOKIES say one North-East town is the country's most patriotic when it comes to backing England to beat Uruguay in the two countries' crunch World Cup clash.

According to William Hill, almost 90 per cent of all wagers placed in Darlington, on Thursday's Group D clash in Sao Paulo, are for an England victory.

That sees Darlington top the poll of towns backing England, with York hovering just outside the top ten.

William Hill said 89 per cent of bets placed in Darlington were in favour of an England victory, placing the town at the top of the tree when it comes to backing Roy's boys.

The average for English towns is 75 per cent.

In York, 82 per cent of bets favoured an England win.

By contrast, Sunderland is one of the bookmakers' least patriotic cities, with just 65 per cent of punters gambling on an England win, making it the sixth most pessimistic place in the country.

Newcastle comes in at a comparatively giddy 81 per cent.

Brighton was one of the most pessimistic towns, with just 64 per cent of customers backing England.

The stats were taken from William Hill’s World Cup mini-site, Bet Nation, which has a wealth of regional gambling statistics and aims to visualise the feeling of the nation.

William Hill has England as 23/20 favourites to win the match, with Uruguay 12/5 and the draw 9/4.

The Three Lions are second favourites to qualify from Group D, behind Italy.

A William Hill spokesman said: "After a strong showing against Italy and Uruguay’s capitulation against Costa Rica, England fans in Darlington and Newcastle definitely fancy the Three Lions to kick start their campaign with a victory against Uruguay.

“Sunderland folk, on the other hand, are reeling from the effects of that opening defeat to Italy and are being a lot more cautious with their money.”

In Darlington, the news that the town had topped a poll for optimism came as no surprise to market trader Robin Blair, who has run his family's fruit and veg stall for decades.

He said: "I think it's brilliant that there is so much patriotism in Darlington, it's good to see and we should be getting behind our boys.

"I am very proud of the English team and I hope they come through - I would definitely put my money on them if I was a betting man."