Middlesbrough have doubts over key men Marvin Emnes and Jonathan Woodgate ahead the Capital One Cup fourth round Tees/Wear derby.
That being said, Boro come into the game with a Sunderland side struggling for goals on the back of four straight Championship wins and could be worth a few quid at their huge underdog price of 4/1.
Tony Mowbray’s men have also come out on top in their last four away games, and will be keen to get stuck into their local rivals who have picked up just one win league win all season.
The Black Cats have not had a single player on the scoresheet since Steven Fletcher’s goals dried up three games ago; they had to rely on Demba Ba putting through his own net to prevent them picking up an unwanted treble of three games without finding the back of the net.
Boro are a big price to keep the Mackems at bay in this one at 7/2, while a mammoth 6/1 says they’ll win to nil.
The Teessiders are fast forging a reputation as a second-half team in the Championship. They have only been leading at both half and full-time in one of their previous six clashes, four of which have been level at the break.
This trend adds value to the 9/1 available for the scores to be level following 45 minutes of action in this one, for the visitors to be ahead when proceedings are brought to a close.
Scott McDonald has been in good form since his clear-the-air talks with Mowbray and the Aussie frontman notched twice following his introduction from the bench in Boro’s 2-1 win over Bolton last time out.
He’s a certain starter here, with Emnes unlikely to be risked, and the 8/1 on offer for him to open the scoring could be a good bet, while there are also some big prices on the men taking to the field against their former clubs.
For Adam Johnson to break the deadlock against the club where he started out is a tempting 10/1 and Grant Leadbitter, who likes nothing more than to fire in shots from range, is a very generous 16/1 to open the scoring, as well as a decent 5/1 to register at any time.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date