JOHN O’SHEA insists Lee Cattermole will brief Sunderland on the threat posed by FA Cup opponents Middlesbrough.
Stockton-born Cattermole led the cheers in the Sunderland dressing room at Peterborough on Sunday after the Black Cats were paired with his former club in the fourth round draw.
The Sunderland skipper left the Riverside three-and-a-half years ago, but he remains close friends with Boro captain Matthew Bates, who has steered Tony Mowbray’s men to fourth in the Championship table.
Sunderland defender O’Shea knows Martin O’Neill’s side cannot take Boro lightly and expects Cattermole to reinforce that danger ahead of the tie.
But the 30-year-old is eager to sample his first North East derby after missing August’s defeat to Newcastle with a hamstring injury.
O’Shea said: “Obviously Lee has been at Middlesbrough before and I’m sure he will be talking to us about the game a lot in the coming weeks.
“He knows all about what these games mean to the supporters and I’m sure he will be reminding everyone of that.
“It will be extra special for him and he will want to get one over on his hometown club and hopefully we’ll be able to do that.
“It’s a great draw and there’s no doubt it will be a brilliant occasion.
“We have home advantage, which will give us a great chance of progressing into the next round, but Middlesbrough are doing well this season and like Peterborough, we must do a professional job.
“Derbies are the games you want to be involved in and because it’s in the cup, it will be that extra bit special to the fans.
“I missed the game with Newcastle at the beginning of the season so it will be my first derby since moving to the club and I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve played in derbies before and there’s always that extra buzz surrounding the game. I’m sure they will bring a lot of fans and the atmosphere in the stadium will be great, but we have to make sure we come out on top.”
Sunderland successfully advanced to the fourth round after securing a third successive win under O’Neill with a 2-0 success at London Road.
“We knew the threats Peterborough posed and we knew what they were capable of, but we went there, did the job and did it well,” added O’Shea.
“We were not very happy with the way we played in the first half, we maybe let them get into the game a little bit more than we had wanted.
“But the goal after half-time was a crucial point and it was a great strike from Seb (Larsson).
“There was a big improvement in the second half and we controlled the game from the goal on really.
“The second goal more or less killed them off and we could have had a couple more.
“But the main thing is we’re through to the next round, we’ve won another game and that can only give us more confidence.”