The first Wear-Tees derby will take place at the Stadium of Light on Sunday when Middlesbrough travel to Sunderland. The game sees David Moyes take charge of his first home game as Black Cats boss. Boro manager Aitor Karanka will also take charge of what will be his first taste of the Wear-Tees derby.
The form guide
Sunderland fell to a cruel defeat to the hands of Manchester City last weekend in what was the opening weekend of the new Premier League season. The Black Cats looked to be in for a long afternoon when Sergio Aguero converted his penalty in the opening minutes, but Moyes’ men battled back and looked to secure a well-deserved point when Jermain Defoe equalised. Yet new man Paddy McNair came on for his Sunderland debut in the final ten minutes and within two minutes scored an own goal.
Middlesbrough had more success in the opening weekend of the new campaign, drawing 1-1 at home to Stoke City. The Boro will have been disappointed not to have seen the game out when new signing Alvaro Negredo scored. Stoke levelled with an excellent free kick from Xherdan Shaqiri ensuring the match would end in a draw.
The two sides haven’t met since 2012, where Middlesbrough ran out 1-0 winners in the fourth round of what was formerly known as the League Cup. The ten years leading up to the most recent fixture saw the two teams have a mixed bag of results against each other. The Boro won five with the highlight being in 2002 when they ran out 3-0 winners, thanks to two goals from Szilard Nemeth. The Black Cats won four times in that ten-year period, with their highlight coming in a 3-2 win on Wearside in 2008. The sides couldn't be separated three times within that period.
The Black Cats have had an unfortunate start to the season on the injury front. Jan Kirchoff, Billy Jones, Lee Cattermole, and Sebastian Larsson all miss out, as well as Fabio Borini who remains a doubt with a toe injury. Lamine Kone reportedly misses out on Sunday’s game with a back injury, but speculation surrounding his future at Sunderland has left fans questioning whether or not the injury is genuine. Younes Kaboul recently joined Premier League rivals Watford for £3.5 million, leaving Sunderland short at the back. Papy Djilobodji is expected to make his debut in the heart of defence.
Middlesbrough look in good shape on the injury front, with the only casualties being Marten De Roon, who suffered a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw with Stoke and former Sunderland midfielder Grant Leadbitter, who is still recovering from hernia surgery. Leadbitter is still set to play a big part on Sunday according to Karanka. “Again, if he’s not on the pitch, he will be in the changing room with us,” Karanka said in an interview with the Gazette.