SUNDERLAND will face two North East derbies within 10 days after being handed a Capital One Cup fourth round clash against Middlesbrough.
The Teessiders will make the trip to the Stadium of Light in the week beginning Monday, October 29, when the Wear-Tyne derby will still be fresh in the memory for the Black Cats, who host Newcastle on Sunday, October 21.
The Boro clash is a repeat of last season’s FA Cup fourth round draw when Sunderland prevailed in a replay against their neighbours.
Martin O’Neill’s men were held to a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light, before Stephane Sessegnon’s extra-time winner at the Riverside secured Sunderland’s passage.
Sunderland’s players reacted enthusiastically to the draw on Twitter last night after the Wearsiders secured their place in the fourth round with Tuesday’s 2-0 victory at MK Dons.
Midfielder David Meyler said: “Buzzing Boro at home! #hawaythelads” while team-mate Craig Gardner added: “I can’t wait let’s have it hahaha.”
Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole missed both games against his former club last year, but he will have served his three-game ban in time to be in contention to face Boro this year.
The game also presents an opportunity for former Sunderland favourite Julio Arca to return to the Stadium of Light after missing last year’s clash on Wearside through suspension.
Boro, who won 3-1 in their third round tie at Preston on Tuesday, boast ex-Sunderland midfielder Grant Leadbitter too after the 26-year-old moved from Ipswich on a free transfer during the summer.
Capital One Cup fourth round draw: SUNDERLAND v Middlesbrough, Swindon v Aston Villa, Wigan v Bradford, Leeds v Southampton, Norwich v Tottenham, Liverpool v Swansea, Chelsea v Man Utd, Reading v Arsenal.
Ties to be played week commencing October 29.