Sunderland to face Boro in Wear-Tees derby friendly today

Ola Toivonen

Ola Toivonen

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Sunderland face Middlesbrough in a behind-closed-doors friendly today as Sam Allardyce looks to keep his players in shape during the two-week international break.

Allardyce has been pro-active in organising non-competitive games whenever Sunderland have had a pause in their Premier League schedule, with the Black Cats facing Newcastle and Livingston in recent months.

With Sunderland not in top flight action again until the visit of West Brom on Saturday week, Allardyce will give some of his fringe players an opportunity in a friendly against Boro today.

Like Sunderland, Boro are eager to remain sharp for the end to the season, with the Teessiders in firm contention for promotion from the Championship.