This Saturday see’s the first Tees-Wear derby of 2018 take place in the third round of this years FA cup.
Sunderland will make the short trip up from the Stadium of Light to The Riverside Stadium, Black Cats hoping they can grab an unlikely win on Teesside and forget about their troubles in the league for the day.
This Tees-Wear derby will be the first for both managers despite both teams already playing each other once this season, which Middlesbrough won 1-0 thanks to a first league goal from 18 year old Marcus Tavernier and gave Boro a third straight win on the bounce.
New Boro manager Tony Pulis will see this game as great chance to have a deeper look into the players available to him and is expected to ring the changes around and could well re-call strikers Rudy Gestede and Patrick Bamford to the starting XI after both players impressed coming off the bench in the midweek victory against Preston which Boro ran out 3-2 winners.
The Welshmen, however has confirmed that Boro will be without midfielders Adam Forshaw and Adam Clayton as well as Danish striker Martin Braithwaite, with all three player picking up injuries in training leaving them all doubtful for this game.
Sunderland manager Chris Coleman on the other hand has a massive injury headache with him telling the press he only has 11 fit senior first team players.
With the massive injury haul the ex Wales boss is expected to give a number of academy players a chance to impress and stake a claim for the first team.
Last time out
Middlesbrough 1-0 Sunderland
Middlesbrough emerged victorious in this seasons first Tees-Wear derby thanks to an early strike from 18 year old winger Marcus Tavernier.
Sunderland went into the game managerless after they sacked Simon Grayson in midweek after they drew 3-3 against Bolton, Billy McKinlay and Robbie Stockdale took the reigns for this game.
The first ten minutes of the game were feisty, yet an entertaining start as Sunderland should’ve been one-nil up after just two minutes.
Boro keeper Darren Randolph was called into action early as he first stopped a pot shot from Didier Ndong and then stopped Lewis Grabben from close range moments later in what can only be described as the save of the season.
After spilling the shot from Ndong, Grabben looked certain to give the Sunderland the lead as the ball fell straight to him from six yards but the strikers effort was magnificently saved as Darren Randolph managed to get a foot to the ball and send it out for a corner.
Minutes later Middlesbrough would wake up and take the lead and what a goal it was.
Some nice build-up play between Stewart Downing and Jonny Howson ended up with Downing playing a lovely reverse pass to Martin Braithwaite found the Danish international in yards of space in the box and the Boro man played a brilliant ball across the face of the goal and Marcus Tavernier was there from close range to execute a brilliant team goal.
The goal was Tavernier’s first league goal of the season in just his third league start and his first start at the Riverside Stadium, it also means Tavernier now has two goals and two assists in all competitions this season.
Sunderland came close to an equaliser after the goal as Lee Cattermole had a cleanly hit strike from 25-yards out turned around the post by Boro keeper Randolph, who was determined not to be beaten today.
Middlesbrough should’ve been two up shortly into the second half as Martin Braithwaite had a shot from eight yards out brilliant saved by Sunderland keeper Ruiter.
Ruiter was called into action again later and this time it was to stop a Stewart Downing free-kick.
Boro won a free-kick just on the edge of the box after Martin Braithwaite was pulled down by Marc Wilson.
The game would drag out as both sides couldn’t get going with passes going astray and both teams giving away needless free-kicks.
Full-time: Middlesbrough 1-0 Sunderland
The away side go into this game low on confidence after slipping to the bottom of the Championship in midweek.
Despite beating Nottingham Forest 1-0 at the City Ground last Saturday, the Black Cats couldn’t follow that win up with back to back victories and lost 1-0 at home to fellow strugglers Barnsley.
Boro will be hoping they can record back to back victories and build on their win against Preston, after they emerged victorious against the Lancashire club.
Tony Pulis will be hopeful that with Sunderland’s injury problems he can record a first win at The Riverside Stadium and build on his first win which he picked up in midweek.
I can only see one winner in today’s game and that’s the home side and Sunderland’s injury crisis has only helped fuel this prediction.
I think we can expect to see Middlesbrough field a weakened side, however it will still have to much fire power for the Wearsiders and I think they will be blown out the water by Tony Pulis’ side.
I’m going with a comprehensive home win as I’ve never felt so sure about result in my life and can guarantee Boro will end the afternoon with a fifth straight win in all competitions against the Black Cats.
Middlesbrough 4-0 Sunderland.
Thanks for reading,
By Jake Self.