Emmanuel Eboue made his return from injury today as Sunderland suffered a 2-1 defeat to Middlesbrough in a derby ‘friendly’.
Eboue – who penned a short-term contract at Sunderland earlier this month – has missed the last fortnight of training after picking up a hamstring problem.
But the ex-Arsenal defender was part of a relatively strong Sunderland line-up at the Stadium of Light, as Sam Allardyce’s men faced neighbours Boro in a behind-closed-doors encounter.
With Sunderland not in top flight action again until the visit of West Brom on Saturday week, Allardyce was eager to give some of his fringe players an opportunity to stay match-sharp.
The likes of Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole, Billy Jones and Jeremain Lens – just back from injury – all featured for Sunderland, while strikers David Nugent and Jordan Rhodes were involved for Boro.
But it was the Teessiders who finished on top in a 2-1 victory, with N’Doye netting the goal for Sunderland.
Strikers Jordan Rhodes and Kike were on target for Championship promotion chasers Boro.
Sunderland: Harper, Eboue (Brady 75), Jones, Beadling, T Robson, Kirchhoff, Cattermole (Agnew 80), Toivonen, Honeyman, Lens, N’Doye.
Middlesbrough: Agazzi (Mejias 46), De Laet, Kalas (Burn 75), Gibson (Ayala 46), Kitching (Friend 46), Nsue (Rhodes 46), Clayton (Tinkler 46), Forshaw, De Pena, Kike Sola (Adomah 35), Nugent (Wheatley 67)