Is Sunderland AFC v Middlesbrough a derby? No chance says Chris Coleman

Sunderland manager Chris Coleman.
Sunderland manager Chris Coleman.
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Chris Coleman doesn't believe Sunderland v Middlesbrough should be classed as a "derby" ahead of another huge weekend in the battle for survival.

Coleman knows the visit of Tony Pulis' Boro is huge in the fight to stay up but he was adamant the only game that can be classed as a "derby" for Sunderland is against fierce rivals Newcastle United.

The game carries huge significance with Sunderland bottom of the Championship, with Boro still battling for a play-off spot at the other end of the table.

Just don't call it a derby - Coleman making his stance on the debate crystal clear at his pre-match press conference.

"I don't think this is a derby for us," Coleman said.

"The derby for us is Newcastle. Like it or not, facts are facts, we see Newcastle as the derby and Newcastle see Sunderland. That's the derby.

"Boro is a big game, they're local rivals - the same as Hull - but I don't look at this and think it'll have the added spice of a derby.

"I see them as a team down the road who are fighting for different things to us.

"It'll be a tough game, they'll be the fancied team but I don't look at this and think we have to contend with the derby situation.

"I've never thought of it like that."

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