The first Wear-Tees derby in more than three years comes in the fourth round of the FA Cup as Sunderland host Middlesbrough at the Stadium of Light. That game ended in a 1-1 draw and both sides will be looking for victory to get their name in the hat for tonight’s fifth round draw.
Martin O’Neill has revitalised Sunderland since his appointment in early December and has lifted them into the top half of the table. The Black Cats beat Peterborough in the third round 2-0 and O’Neill will be looking for another win to put his side in the fifth round. Sunderland will be without Nicklas Bendtner, who suffered a broken nose in the league win over Swansea last weekend. Fraizer Campbell is back in contention after a serious knee injury and Jack Colback has recovered from an ankle problem, but is a doubt to play against Middlesbrough.
Middlesbrough won 1-0 thanks to a Marvin Emnes goal against Shrewsbury in the last round and have performed well in the Championship. A blip in recent weeks culminated in a shock defeat away at Coventry in the league last weekend and Tony Mowbray now has two players out with suspension. Kevin Thomson and Julio Arca are both out after being dismissed at the Ricoh Arena and injury worries are with Bart Ogbeche’s hamstring strain and Jason Steele still ruled out. Outstanding performer this season Nicky Bailey is out for a further four weeks with medial ligament damage, which will be a blow for Mowbray.
Both sides will be fired up for this local derby at lunchtime and Sunderland will be eager to show their Premier League superiority over Championship Middlesbrough. Tony Mowbray’s side will look for the scalp, but should come unstuck against the solid Black Cats under O’Neill.
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