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Sunderland vs Middlesbrough – Match Preview

Sunderland’s Lamine Kone is out with a back injury, while fellow centre-back Younes Kaboul has left for Watford.

Fabio Borini is a doubt, while Lee Cattermole, Billy Jones, Jan Kirchhoff and Sebastian Larsson are out, but new signing Steven Pienaar is available

Middlesbrough midfielders Grant Leadbitter and Marten de Roon miss out with respective hernia and hamstring problems.

Defender Daniel Ayala may return from an ankle injury.

What with Newcastle’s relegation to The Championship, Sunderland will have to make do with not playing their arch rivals for at least a season. Thankfully for them Middlesbrough are able to step into the breach and give us our first North-East derby of this campaign.

A new look Middlesbrough were held by Stoke on the opening day but manager Aitor Karanka will have been pleased that new boy and Premier League returnee Alvardo Negredo hasn’t forgotten where the net is. It was his strike that put ‘Boro ahead before Xhedran Shaqiri gave Stoke a share of the points.

Aitor Karanka has been one of the busier managers in the transfer market this Summer with a whole host of new arrivals, it may be slightly harsh on the players that got Boro back up to the top flight but if you are to have any real chance of staying up then your squad needs somewhat of an overhaul in the off season.

Hosts Sunderland will feel hard done by that they didn’t come away with at least a point from their trip to The Etihad on Saturday. That said the performance would have given David Moyes a lot to take from and certainly something to build on as he looks to keep Sunderland in the top flight.

This game is always action packed and with the last Premier League encounter between the two sides being in 2009 a return is very much long overdue.

Sunderland are missing some key faces and that will no doubt hamper David Moyes’ preparations and the fact that there are so many absentees could very well play into Middelesbrough’s hands. Whether they have enough to take full advantage remains to be seen, a derby always has a habit of throwing the form book out of the window. I’ll put my money on a draw

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