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Rearranged Middlesbrough derby to be announced this week - and it looks like being on this date

Sunderland have sold out their 2296 allocation for the trip to Middlesbrough in what will be a crucial derby game, but with a rearranged date to be announced once the FA Cup Fifth Round is completed tonight, when is it likely to be?

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Premier League Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Premier League chiefs will announce the rearranged date for the Tees-Wear derby this week - after tonight's FA Cup replay between Manchester City and Huddersfield Town.

The crucial fixture was due to be played a week on Saturday, but Middlesbrough's continued involvement in the cup means their quarter-final appearance takes precedence.

It won't be confirmed until tomorrow at the earliest but the derby looks like it will take place during week commencing the 24th April, so we understand.

With both clubs staring down the barrel of relegation, the game promises to be loaded with tension.

The Tees-Wear version of North East rivalry might lack the edge that the Sunderland-Newcastle fixture carries, but the stakes of the trip to Middlesbrough are promising to be higher even than last season's Tyne-Wear derby. That game last March saw Sam Allardyce and Rafa Benitez battle out a goal-apiece draw which left both in the bottom three.

Newcastle United v Sunderland - Premier League
Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring against Newcastle last March.
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Currently Sunderland are at the foot of the league but are only separated by three points from seventeenth-placed 'Boro; and whilst it's conceivable that one of the A19-rivals could be all but relegated by the time the game takes place at the end of April, more probably the derby will go a long way to deciding which division both sides play in next season.

The two clubs will still have four or five fixtures to play if the match does indeed take place on the 26th or 27th April and, as things stand right now, Middlesbrough and Sunderland both look like they will need to pick up five or six wins to reach the golden-ish figure of around 37-points. That total has generally kept teams in the Premier League in recent years.

Middlesbrough fans could be forgiven for harking back to 2009 - the last time the club faced a north east derby which could determine their Premier League fate. That was the season in which Alan Shearer had been drafted in to save Newcastle from the drop and the Magpies gave themselves a chance with a 3-1 victory over their Teesside rivals at St James Park.

The Geordie talismanic striker - who had answered the call of nature to replace Chris Hughton as manager - joined his players on the pitch as the black-and-white masses celebrated what they believed would be salvation. But it wasn't to be and Shearer couldn't out-mastermind Hull City on the final day of the season and his beloved club were relegated along with Middlesbrough.

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Premier League
Will either, or both, of these men still be in their jobs come the derby?
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

It was confirmed yesterday that Sunderland have sold out their allocation of just under 3,000 for the trip to Middlesbrough. With Aitor Karanka and David Moyes presently favourite and second-favourite with the bookies to be the next Premier League boss axed, there may possibly be a fresh face - or even two - in the dugouts at the Riverside.

Meanwhile, the visit of Manchester United has been put back a day to Sunday April 9th. Clearly the 'Moyes faces Manchester United' billing has a way to go before it grows stale for the global TV audience.