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Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship

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Match Preview: Sunderland v Middlesbrough - all you need to know ahead of kick-off!

With the Lads back on track at the Stadium of Light, Middlesbrough are today’s visitors just at the point where they’re finding a bit of form themselves - here’s all the build-up ahead of kick-off.

Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Saturday 7th October 2023

(4th) Sunderland v Middlesbrough (17th)


Stadium of Light

Kick-Off: 12:30

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Tickets are available at

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage is available via Sky Sports and

Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)

Don’t forget to follow the blow-by-blow account of the game on the Roker Report Twitter feed (@RokerReport) and check out the player ratings after the full-time whistle at!

The build-up...

Once again it’s that time of the year where people share their thoughts on whether a fixture against Middlesbrough is a derby as Michael Carrick’s side roll into town for a lunchtime kick-off in front of the Sky cameras.

Our record over the years against Boro has been a bit of a mixed bag, with the Lads having claimed victory in just four of the ten league games that have taken place between the two sides at the Stadium of Light this century. The most significant being the meeting back in January where it resulted in a fairly routine 2-0 win after the visitors went down to ten men just after the break.

It’s also another chance to prove that can improve our home record from where it stood at the end of last season, where the routine midweek victory means we’ve now won more than we’ve lost on home soil - but a question mark still exists in terms of the levels it can improve this season.

It feels like Ton Mowbray’s side haven’t yet got out of second gear and yet we’re not only sitting 4th in the table, but we’re only a point worse off after ten league games than we were during the record-breaking 105-point season under Peter Reid in 1998-99.

Only one side in the Championship have conceded fewer goals in total so far this season (only three have shipped in fewer at home) and only the top two have scored more in total than the Lads, with only Plymouth Argyle and Ipswich Town scoring more on home soil - it’s becoming increasingly clear that we’re one of the teams to beat this season.

Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
“Have we scored six yet...?!”
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Despite losing last season's top scorer Chuba Akpom to Ajax for something in the region of £12m, big things were expected of Michael Carrick’s side this season following the scale of the turnaround following his appointment last season.

Akpom’s 29 goals (in all competitions) helped Carrick take Boro from the lower reaches of the table to a place in the play-offs where they lost out to Coventry City in the semi-final, and without their star striker, this season has been a slow burner.

A home defeat, via the only goal of the game, on the opening day against Millwall set the tone for a while and they lost five out of the first six league games, but since then their form has picked up.

They are now unbeaten in the last four in the Championship and three of those ended in victory and in midweek they not only recorded their first clean sheet in the league but also achieved something we couldn’t, when they defeated Cardiff City 2-0 at the Riverside.

Today’s fixture is a test that might go some way to proving how solid their current resurgence is as well as being yet another opportunity for the Lads to build some momentum on home soil.

Watford v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship - Vicarage Road
Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick
Photo by Rhianna Chadwick/PA Images via Getty Images

Sunderland home form...

Boro away form...

The betting...

The bookies fancy a home win with odds of 7/5, while a Boro victory is priced at around 15/8 and a draw is 9/4.

Head to head... at Sunderland

(All competitions)

  • Sunderland wins: 40
  • Draws: 20
  • Middlesbrough wins: 14
  • Sunderland goals: 126
  • Middlesbrough goals: 75

Last time we met... at the Stadium of Light

Sunday 22nd January 2023


Sunderland 2-0 Middlesbrough

[Stewart 51’, Diallo 81’ - (Fry sent-off 49’)]

Sunderland: Patterson, Gooch, Hume, O’Nien, Cirkin, Neil (Michut), Ekwah (Pritchard), Roberts, Diallo, Clarke, Gelhardt (Ba) Substitutes not used: Bass, Anderson, Taylor, Lihadji

Middlesbrough: Steffen, Smith, Giles, Howson, Fry, Lenihan, Forss (Archer), Hackney, Crooks (McNair), Akpom, McGree (Watmore) Substitutes not used: Roberts, Jones, Bola, Hoppe

Attendance: 42,584

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship
Dael Fry receives a red card when the sides last met at the Stadium of Light back in January
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Played for both...

Brian Clough

Middlesbrough-born Brian Clough started his playing career with his hometown club in the mid-1950s and in well over 200 appearances had an incredible ratio of almost a goal a game.

Boro continuously missed out on promotion to Division One during his six years with the club and after one of his many transfer requests was finally accepted before he made the move to join Alan Brown’s Sunderland.

During his time on Wearside, Clough scored 63 goals in 74 appearances before a cruciate ligament on Boxing Day 1962 effectively ended his career. After his playing days, he went on to become a football manager and won a trophy or two...

Brian Clough
Brian Clough
Photo by NCJ/NCJ Archive/Mirrorpix via Getty Images


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