Middlesbrough welcome Sunderland to the Riverside Stadium in the Tees-Wear derby in Monday Night Football.
Victory will lift Boro out of the relegation zone, whereas a win could put Sunderland as high as fourth in the table.
Zack Steffen is set to return in goal for Middlesbrough after he missed their last two matches with a knee injury.
Darragh Lenihan and Jonny Howson could be available after they were subsituted in their midweek loss at Watford with knocks to ankle and back respectively.
Chuba Akpom (knee) remains absent.
Sunderland manager – Tony Mowbray could hand new signings, Edouard Michut, Abdoullah Ba and Amad Diallo their club debuts.
Niall Huggins (heel), Leon Dajaku (thigh) and Daniel Ballard (foot) remain ruled out.
- Middlesbrough are unbeaten in their last five league meetings against Sunderland (W3, D2).
- Sunderland have won just one of their last five league visits to Middlesbrough (W1, D2, L2).
- Middlesbrough have kept three consecutive clean sheets at home against Sunderland in all competitions, during which they scored four goals in those three matches.
- Neither Middlesbrough or Sunderland are yet to be awarded a penalty this season.
- Sunderland have dropped just two points from four matches in which Ross Stewart has scored in this season (W3, D1) – which came in a 2-2 draw at home against QPR last month.
Having taken an early lead at Watford, Middlesbrough should be disappointed to have not snatched a draw because they showed more confidence and solidness than previously this season, yet small defensive errors proved costly.
Chris Wilder therefore has the task of refocusing his players after that late heartbreak because local pride is now at stake, especially if Boro are to keep their recent home record against Sunderland going with a fourth clean sheet.
Sunderland though continue to look like a dangerous attacking team to beat, which was evident by how well they played to comfortably beat Rotherham in midweek – particularly less than 24 hours after ex Boro boss – Tony Mowbray was officially appointed as their new manager.
If there are two issues with the Black Cats though, it is that they can be very wasteful with their chances yet are defensively poor, which is something which Boro need to exploit if they’re to get a result but goals are surely guaranteed if both teams bring their best quality.
Sunderland though do seem more settled with Stewart and Ellis Simms already connecting well up front, whilst Jack Clarke could be a key player on the wing so I do fancy them to edge this if they get the opening goal given their unbeaten form when netting the first goal.
Prediction: Middlesbrough 1-2 Sunderland
Result: Middlesbrough 1-0 Sunderland