Sunderland vs Boro - Live match updates from the Wear-Tees derby
Middlesbrough travel to Sunderland looking for a fifth straight victory and local bragging rights.
Boro won the reverse fixture back at the Riverside Stadium earlier in the season thanks to Riley McGree's strike, and another win here will lift them to third in the Championship table.
Boro come into this Wear-Tees derby with four consecutive victories in the league, whereas Sunderland lost last time out against Swansea City after an early red card for Luke O'Nien.
Can Boro claim a league double over their Wearside rivals? Join us throughout the day for live updates from the Stadium of Light as we bring you updates of all the build-up and action.
HT 0-0Craig Johns
Poor first half from Boro. Sunderland started with real intensity and Boro just haven't been able to match them. Too flat and too passive. Carrick spoke this week about like to feel in control of games but Boro have been anything but here, even when they got slightly better as the game wore on.
HT 0-0Craig Johns
Goalless at the break... Analysis to follow.
45+ mins 0-0Craig Johns
Big save from Steffen. Fry just ducked out of the way of a ball assuming it would run through to Steffen, but it put Stewart in. Steffen makes a big save to keep him out.
45 mins 0-0Craig Johns
Added time. Boro be quiet relieved if they can get to the break level.
43 mins 0-0Craig Johns
Boro turnover possession in Sunderland's half. They want a FK but Boro keep going with McGree and Forss exchanging passes to get McGree in the box, he slides across for Crooks to run onto and while he gets there ahead of his marker, his marker does enough to apply the block
39 mins 0-0Craig Johns
Roberts gets by Giles on Boro's left, swings one in that bounces low just in front of Stewart as he gets ahead of Fry but can only scoop his effort over the bar from close range.
36 mins 0-0Craig Johns
Good save from Patterson. Boro work it well across the edge of the Sunderland box with Crooks eventually sliding across to Forss who sets himself on his left foot with his first touch then drills it low. Patterson down well to it.
32 mins 0-0Craig Johns
Better from Boro who are sensibly just trying to take the sting out of this game a bit and keep the ball.
Slowly work their way up and their unfortunate as Forss' low ball is just behind Akpom. Sunderland quickly break though and Lenihan has to charge across to face him up with a 1v1. He comes out on top with some important defending.
27 mins 0-0Craig Johns
By all accounts Sky have Sunderland player Luke O'Nien on co-comms today... Seems a strange decision.
24 mins 0-0Craig Johns
Amad again breaking behind, this time on Boro's left, he slides across the box. Roberts scuffs his shot but Steffen spills and Stewart puts in the rebound but the flag is up for offside.
Relief for Steffen again.
21 mins 0-0Craig Johns
For 21yo Sunderland fan Fletcher Jackson. Boro fans join in too, after a social media campaign during the week.
19 mins 0-0Craig Johns
They're just starting to settle and trying to get their passing game going more. Still struggling to go too far with it though, with Sunderland hunting in packs for the ball and swarming Boro.
15 mins 0-0Craig Johns
Late tackle as Sunderland come at Boro again.
Really slow start this from Boro. Sunderland have started with real intensity and Boro just can't get to grips with the game at all right now. Really under the cosh with Amad causing all kinds of problems.
11 mins 0-0Craig Johns
Enforced change, Michut on for the injured Evans. Blow for the home side, losing their skipper so early.
11 mins 0-0Craig Johns
Huge let off for Boro with Steffen playing out again. Understand it's part of the way Carrick wants to play, but Steffen has to be better. Similar with one against Millwall when under pressure. You have to have the nous to know when to do it and when not.
9 mins 0-0Craig Johns
Steffen almost gifts Boro the lead. Shocking from the Boro keeper.
His playing out from the back is key to the way Boro want to play, but that's a terrible ball out. Amad intercepts, is through on goal, but he puts it wide.
Huge let off for Boro!
7 mins 0-0Craig Johns
First shot on target in the game. Scruffy FK from Howson cleared but Boro try to keep it alive. All a bit scruffy, but it falls to Lenihan who hits it on the turn but it's easy for Patterson to claim.
5 mins 0-0Craig Johns
Speaking to Football Odds, Carrick's former team-mate and also former Sunderland striker said:
I fancy a great game here and I’ll got a 2-2 draw. I fancy a great goals-filled game here and I’ll for a 2-2 draw. I played in a few derbies and I used to love the bitter atmosphere in the ground.
3 mins 0-0Craig Johns
Sunderland have started this one with real intensity, buoyed by their vocal home support.
Boro just having to manage this opening period carefully, not give the home fans too much encouragement.
1 min 0-0KEY EVENT
We are off and running
Kick-off for Sunderland vs Boro is just moments away!
Many Sunderland fans will claim it's not a derby, but the atmosphere between the two sets of fans makes it certainly feel like one as we close in on kick-off.
Set for a cracking game ahead.
The pre-match Build-up music has begun and we're just five minutes from kick-off.
Here's how Sunderland line-up today
Game of brinksmanship from Carrick perhaps. Having told us Thursday that Lenihan still wasn't back training with the group, he is a surprise inclusion in the Boro starting line-up today!
Matthew Hoppe makes the bench after receiving special dispensation to appear before then linking up with the USA squad.
Darragh Lenihan is back!
The Boro players are in the building. Team news soon
He's ready for today
Love this big match pre-match feelings. That anticipation and slight edginess/nerves in the stomach.
Big one today between tow good sides challenging at the right end of the table and who like to play good stuff.
Three points for Boro today will lift them to third in the table too!
On form and quality of squad, you have to say Boro are the favourites. But can they control the emotions as Carrick spoke about pre-match? In what will be an atmospheric stadium, can they hold their nerves and stick to the game plan? That's always the key in these kind of games.
John, Martin, Paul and Keith are all ready for the match, complete with cans in hand, and they reckon Boro will win too.