Middlesbrough vs Sunderland: Black Cats out for Tees-Wear derby revenge in Riverside clash

Michael Carrick and Michael Beale have looked ahead to the Tees-Wear derby. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Middlesbrough and Sunderland will face off for the second time this season with plenty on the line between the clubs.

Boro seized the bragging rights in emphatic fashion in October's reverse fixture, taking advantage of Dan Neil's controversial first-half red card to emerge 4-0 winners at the Stadium of Light.

A lot has changed in the months since with Michael Beale replacing Tony Mowbray as Sunderland boss and Middlesbrough head coach Michael Carrick is expecting a very different game on Sunday.

"I think these games tend to be one-off," he said. "There is not much you can rely on going into the game which will give you the storyline of what's going to happen. It's all about who gets out of bed early and often prepares well enough to fit for the early kickoff.

"We won't be won't be looking too much into what's happened in the past. It's all about Sunday."

Middlesbrough emerged 4-0 winners in the reverse fixture in October. Credit: PA

However, October's encounter appears to weigh heavier on Wearside with the Black Cats out for revenge.

"It is a short trip down the road and both teams will be at it," Beale said. "The two sets of players have got respect for each and we have to fully respect them because they came into our stadium and took the points in a comprehensive result.

"So it is important that we respond this weekend."

Sunday's encounter will be Beale's first taste of the Tees-Wear derby but it is also the first chance Carrick has had to lead his side out against Sunderland at the Riverside.

The 42-year-old hopes to repay the home faithful for their support in recent weeks, particularly after the 6-1 defeat against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg at Stamford Bridge.

"I am really looking forward to it, I expect a terrific atmosphere," he said. "Looking back to the support we had at Chelsea that support we felt at the end of the game after a defeat like that was pretty special.

"To bring that atmosphere, level of support and noise and it is for us to give them a little bit more to shout about would be the ideal scenario."

It is Michael Carrick's first Tees-Wear derby at the Riverside. Credit: PA

Both sides are firmly in the playoff race and Sunday's encounter could give the victors the chance to claim the impetus for the rest of the season.

Beale is expecting a tough test on Teesside as Boro seek to take advantage of their strong home form.

"It's an excellent game," he said. "If you look at the last six games in the league and the form we're fifth and they are sixth. It's two teams riding high with the same ambition.

"We know what happened in the home game so there is an element of we want to perform well. We will need to as the away team against Middlesbrough who are a good team.

"I think Michael Carrick has started his management career well. In the last month at home, they've played Aston Villa and narrowly lost and played Chelsea and won the game.

"That's a warning of how good they are at home but I've seen areas that we can exploit. We will need to be at our best."

It is Michael Beale's first Tees-Wear derby since becoming Sunderland head coach. Credit: PA

Yet Carrick believes the game will not make or break his sides' season despite the additional importance it takes on as a local derby.

"There's an importance to it without doubt," he said. "It is key in terms of setting up for the next little bit and it gives us a chance to get three points.

"But in the end will it tell the season's whole story? No.

"It's not going to be a make or break game in terms of the rest of the season but it definitely gives us a boost if we can put the right performance in and get the right result."

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