James McClean

Preview: Sunderland v Middlesbrough

by Stuart Vose

Match build-up ahead of Capital One Cup tie.

Sunderland and Middlesbrough will meet for the third time in 2012 in the last 16 of the Capital One Cup tonight.

The two sides slugged out a pair of games in the FA Cup with Budweiser back in January, starting with a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light.

Barry Robson gave Boro the lead only for substitute Fraizer Campbell to equalise on his return from a serious knee injury.

Jack Colback and Lukas Jutkiewicz traded goals in a hotly-contested replay on Teesside which was eventually settled in favour of Sunderland thanks to Stephane Sessegnon’s extra-time winner.

The result continued Sunderland’s good run against their north-east neighbours – the Black Cats are now undefeated against Boro in six games stretching back to January 2006.

Tonight’s game is the 142nd between the two sides, with Sunderland holding the advantage with 61 wins to Boro’s 43 with 37 fixtures ending all square.

The teams haven’t met in this competition since October 1997, when goals from Andy Campbell and Craig Hignett earned Boro a 2-0 win.

Sunderland have been beaten just once in all competitions this season and have drawn each of their last two games.

Meanwhile, Boro are on a run of four straight wins, with their latest coming at home to Bolton last Saturday (2-1).

Tony Mowbray’s men have lost just two of their last 10 games, climbing to third in the Npower Championship with 25 points from 13 games.

They have won three and drawn three of their six away games and have also notched away wins in all three Capital One Cup games so far – winning at Bury, Gillingham and Preston.

Both sides have injuries to contend with ahead of tonight’s game, with Martin O’Neill confirming only that he is monitoring the fitness of several players.

Mowbray, meanwhile, is wrestling with a lengthy injury list which currently numbers 10 players. He has drafted in three under-21 prospects as a result.

Julio Arca, Muzzy Carayol, Marvin Emnes, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Curtis Main, Kevin Thomson, Luke Williams, Rhys Williams and Jonathan Woodgate are all out, while the on-loan Josh McEachran is ineligible.