Sunderland meet Middlesbrough at the Stadium of Light in a Wear-Tees derby in the Sky Bet Championship.
Victory or a draw would see Sunderland climb to third with Preston not in action until later on Saturday afternoon, whilst Middlesbrough can go as high as 14th with a win due to their inferior goal difference over 13th-placed Coventry.
Alex Pritchard is unlikely to feature for Sunderland after he missed their midweek win over Watford with a calf injury.
Eliezer Mayenda, Bradley Dack (both hamstring), Dennis Cirkin (muscle), Pierre Ekwah (leg), Jay Matete (knee), Aji Alese (thigh) and Corry Evans (ACL) remain absent.
Middlesbrough could welcome defender, Rav van den Berg back into contention after he missed their midweek win at home to Cardiff with a hamstring injury.
Jonny Howson (illness) could also return but Lewis O’Brien (ankle/leg) remains ruled out.
When is Kick-Off?
Sunderland meet Middlesbrough at Stadium of Light in a 12:30pm BST kick-off on Saturday 7 October, live on Sky Sports in the UK.
- Sunderland have won just one of their last six league meetings against Middlesbrough (W1, D1, L4).
- Middlesbrough have claimed four points from their last five league visits to Sunderland (W1, D1, L3).
- The team playing at home in the Wear-Tees derby fixtures last season won with a clean sheet.
- Tony Mowbray’s Black Cats have kept just one clean sheet in their last four home matches (W2, L2).
- Michael Carrick’s Boro have scored first in just one of their five away league matches this season (W1, D1, L3).
Having snatched a clinical if scrappy win over Watford in midweek, Sunderland certainly can come into this game full of confidence given the goalscoring quality that they possess across the pitch, whilst one defeat in their last eight games shows just how much confidence they have at present.
Middesbrough meanwhile are unbeaten in their last four matches in all competitions and finally clicking into gear after their awful start to the campaign, so they just now need to keep building upon that momentum after a dominant win over Cardiff.
This Wear-Tees derby though is about local pride so I do expect it to be scrappy especially with both teams in solid form, but Sunderland do seem to have something about them confidence wise which might just be the difference.
Prediction: Sunderland 2-1 Middlesbrough
Result: Sunderland 0-4 Middlesbrough