Boro host Sunderland on Monday night in the first Wear-Tees derby since 2018, which ended in a 3-3 thriller. The home side will be hoping to turn around a poor start to the campaign which has seen them take just six points from seven games. However, they did get their first win of the season last weekend over Swansea but followed it up with a 2-1 loss to Watford on Tuesday night. Wilder may count his side unlucky though as Watford scored with virtually the last kick of the game.
After missing out on the playoffs last year, Boro fans will be desperate to see their side go one better this season but know finding consistency is a must if they are to achieve a top-six finish. A win over their North East rivals in front of a packed Riverside stadium could be the catalyst that finally gives them lift off after a dismal month. Surprisingly, Boro are strong favourites despite the poor form, with a home win getting you odds of 31/40.
The Black Cats on the other hand have started the season very strongly and that continued on Wednesday night with a 3-0 win over Rotherham despite somehow losing manager Alex Neil to Stoke. His replacement (and former Boro player/manager) Tony Mowbray will have been delighted with what he saw though and should be confident he can continue the fantastic work his predecessor started.
Sunderland also made a statement by unveiling four new signings at half-time during the Rotherham game, which was seen as a direct response to the departing manager citing the lack of backing in the market. Amongst the four were PSG wonderkid Edouard Michut and exciting Manchester United winger Amad Diallo, both of which are seen as a coup for the club. However, they do go into this as outsiders with bookies pricing a Sunderland win at 10/3.