Middlesbrough Preview (H) - October 30
SUNDERLAND HOST Championship outfit Middlesbrough on Tuesday night in the Capital One Cup fourth round, looking to progress at the expense of their regional rivals in a domestic cup for the second time in 2012.
Martin O'Neill's side overcame Tony Mowbray's 'Boro in last season's F.A Cup and could progress to the last 16 of the League Cup if they beat the Teesside outfit.
'Boro have reached this stage of the competition by overcoming lower league opposition in the first three rounds; beating Bury 2-1 in the first at Gigg Lane, Gillingham 2-0 in the second and most recently triumphing over League One Preston North End 3-1.
Sunderland have had little joy in the Barclays Premier League in terms of three-point hauls, but wins over League Two outfit Morecambe (2-0) and League One MK Dons (2-0) have seen O'Neill's side get this far.
Scorer of goals in both the first and third rounds for the visitors, Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma has quickly become an important part of Mowbray's side.
Signed on a free transfer over the summer following the expiry of his contract at Walsall, the 24 year-old Argentine had previously plied his trade in England on-loan at Queens Park Rangers in 2008.
After just 17 appearances and one league goal for the west London side, he returned to parent club Genoa, before taking in further loan spells at Salernitara and Novara.
Two spells at Walsall brought another 20 n.Power Football League appearances and a further five goals on these shores, enough to tempt Mowbray to add the Quilmes-born attacking midfielder-cum-winger to his ranks at the Riverside.
Also on the books of the Teessiders is former Sunderland favourite, Julio Arca.
Now 31, the left-back-cum-left-midfielder spent six years at the Stadium of Light, racking up well in excess of 100 league appearances as a Black Cat.
Also born in Quilmes, the 5'9 left-footer joined Middlesbrough in 2006 and despite having to take a pay cut since in order to fit in with the club's new pay structure, the one-cap Argentine international remains on the books at the Riverside.
A dead-ball specialist, Arca has made just three league appearances this season but has featured in two of the three Capital One Cup ties.
There are two further players at the club with Sunderland connections in former central midfielder Grant Leadbitter and right-back Justin Hoyte.
Right-back Hoyte spent a season on-loan on Wearside in 2005-06, making 27 appearances and scoring once.
Leadbitter, 26, was around rather longer, making 111 league appearances for the club before joining Ipswich Town in 2009 for a fee of £2.6m.
After his Ipswich contract expired this summer, the former England U16, U17, U19, U20 & U21 man returned to the north east on a bosman to join 'Boro.
Mowbray will be without Marvin Emnes (hamstring), Jonathan Woodgate (thigh), Mustafa Carayol (knee), Arca (toe), Rhys Williams (ankle), Curtis Main (knee), Kevin Thomson (calf) & Lukas Jutkiewicz (ligament damage).
Sunderland will miss Wes Brown who is out with a calf problem, and defender Titus Bramble, out with a hip injury.
Sunderland: Mignolet; Bardsley, O'Shea, Cuellar, Rose; Cattermole (c), Colback; Johnson, Larsson, McClean; Fletcher.
Middlesbrough: Steele; Parnaby, Hines, Amougou, Friend; Leadbitter, McEachran; Reach, Haroun, Emnes; McDonald.