Sunderland host a much improved Middlesbrough side at the Stadium of Light this weekend in the first Wear/Tees meeting since 2018, when a last gasp Callum McManaman equaliser earned a share of the points.
When speaking with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink earlier this week for Sky Bet’s League of 72 show, Boro boss Michael Carrick admitted he is ‘looking forward’ to Sunday afternoon’s clash.
“First and foremost, it’s a terrific game, I think.” Carrick said “It’s a healthy rivalry, I love that about football. I love the rivalry; I love the competition within this area of the country.”
“I think it’s fantastic and the passion that goes with that.
It’s my first one [Sunderland Middlesbrough game] in this position. We’re close in the league, we’re speaking about the league not being important at this moment in time, it’s about winning games. Nevertheless, for everyone in and around it, it’s a big game.
They’re playing well, we’re playing well. I’m hugely looking forward to it.”
Carrick took charge at The Riverside Stadium in October and has steered his side from the relegation zone up to fourth position, taking an impressive 25 points from his 11 games in charge.
“I’ve had mixed experiences over the years going to Sunderland, and hopefully this will be one of the better ones.”
Sunderland last beat Middlesbrough at the Stadium of Light in 2008 courtesy of 2 late goals from Michael Chopra.