Sunderland boss expecting 'tough' game against Premier League new boys Middlesbrough
Sunderland boss David Moyes is expecting a tough afternoon against newly promoted Middlesbrough tomorrow.
Boro returned to the top flight this season after a seven-year spell in the Championship, with Aitor Karanka's side picking up a good point against Stoke City on the opening day.
Sunderland were beaten 2-1 away to Manchester City, with the Wear-Tees derby the first home game of the new campaign at the Stadium of Light (1.30pm kick-off).
And Moyes is expecting Karanka's side to push Sunderland all the way.
"It will be a tough game, it would be tough if we were going to their stadium too," said Moyes.
"We have to make it a tough game here.
"We need the crowd to be right behind us, vocal and clamouring for every decision."
Moyes handed youngsters Donald Love, Lynden Gooch and Duncan Watmore starts against Man City, with Paddy McNair coming off the bench.
The former Everton and Manchester United boss has proved he isn't afraid to give youth a chance.
"If we chose them. We may decide it is not the game for them," when asked if he expected the youngsters to make an impact against Boro.
"What I will do is make sure they are in and around the squad, there are a couple of others I have been quite impressed by as well.
"I would have no fears over throwing them in.
"We need boys who are really committed, energetic but we also need to balance that with the right level of experience."
Despite the mounting injury concerns, the sale of Younes Kaboul and uncertainty surrounding Lamine Kone, Moyes insists the spirit remains strong in the Sunderland camp.
He added: "We don't feel down in any way. I wouldn't say there are any questions about the spirit. It is good.
"The players know we will be making the squad stronger and adding to it and they are looking forward to seeing who's next."