Now that Martin O’Neill has steered the Black Cats into the top half of the league, it is time for the northern Irishman to start weaving his magic in the FA Cup, with the Wearside club having won at Peterborough in the last round and they have Championship opponents once again this coming Sunday.
While a north-east derby against Middlesbrough might look like a captivating affair, there is a strong chance it could be a one-sided encounter based on Sunderland’s recent form and the home side look a spot of value at 8/11 (Ladbrokes £50 free bets) to claim victory.
The manager played a strong team at London Road and will be doing the same in this match, with a victory moving his team closer to the chance of a Wembley trip, with the semi-finals taking place at the national stadium again.
Stephane Sessegnon is enjoying himself at the Stadium of Light and the Benin forward is a 5/1 chance (Paddy Power bookmaker) to break the deadlock just as he did in exquisite fashion against the Swans last weekend.
With the Black Cats also keeping a mean defence these days, you could do worse than back the 7/4 (Coral free bet) that the home side win to nil against a team focused on getting automatic promotion from the Championship.
Tony Mowbray is doing a good job at the Riverside Stadium and Boro sit just five points behind second-placed Southampton having enjoyed some splendid away form this season which has seen them collect seven wins from the thirteen games played.
Odds of 9/2 are available that the visitors cause an upset in this FA Cup tie and the visiting supporters will be out in their thousands to support Boro, who have nothing to lose from having a go at their in-form opponents.