Leeds United striker relishing Sunderland return with Middlesbrough

Former Sunderland academy player Sam Greenwood says his family will be rooting for Middlesbrough during today’s match between the two clubs – despite being Black Cats supporters.
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Greenwood came through the ranks on Wearside but was sold to Arsenal in 2018 without making a senior appearance for Sunderland.

The 21-year-old is now under contract at Leeds United but signed for Middlesbrough on loan this summer and made his first Boro start during Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Cardiff City.

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When asked about today’s meeting with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, Greenwood replied: “My family are all Sunderland fans, they’ll be there, but I’ve put my dad in the away end with the Boro fans.

Sam Greenwood made his first start for Middlesbrough in the win over Cardiff City. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)Sam Greenwood made his first start for Middlesbrough in the win over Cardiff City. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood made his first start for Middlesbrough in the win over Cardiff City. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

"He doesn’t mind. He’s just supporting me. I’m sure he’ll want Boro to win, he supports his son all the time.”

Greenwood added: “I went to school in Sunderland so literally all my mates are Sunderland fans, but I just have to be professional about it.

"I’m a Middlesbrough player now and I’ll fight for Middlesbrough. It’s all about the team I’m at, so I’m going to go for the win.”

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Greenwood started in the No 10 position against Cardiff, with Matt Crooks dropping to the bench due to a slight injury, as Boro recorded their third consecutive league win ahead of the lunch-time trip to Wearside.

“It’s a big game,” Greenwood said.

“I’m sure we can get the win and keep pushing as a team. It’s down to the gaffer whether or not I start but hopefully I’ve done enough.”

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Is this how Boro will line-up to face Sunderland?

Boro boss Michael Carrick was forced to make multiple changes to his side before their 2-0 win over Cardiff with a number of first-team players absent ahead of their trip to the Stadium of Light.

Following a difficult start to the season Boro have recorded three consecutive league wins against Southampton, Watford and Cardiff, as well as victory over Bradford City in the Carabao Cup, with Isaiah Jones and substitute Emmanuel Latte scoring against The Bluebirds at the Riverside Stadium in midweek.

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Yet several senior players dropped out of Boro’s matchday squad, with captain Jonny Howson, defender Rav van den Berg and Nottingham Forest loanee Lewis O’Brien, who will be out for two to three months after he was forced off with an injury against Watford, all absent.

Crooks and Darragh Lenihan were only deemed fit enough to start on the bench against Cardiff.

"Rav was missing, he’s been carrying a hamstring neuro problem for a few games now so we’ll have to wait and see how he is,” Carrick told BBC Radio Tees after the game.

“Jonny has been ill. Darragh has been ill. Crooksy has had a few niggles and put a lot into the last couple of weeks, so it’s about managing the squad.

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"Sam has done ever so well, looked sharp, so I was really keen to get Sam onto the pitch and for him to play.

"It’s about managing the squad, we’re going to need everyone, whether it’s Saturday, whenever it is, the squad is important so there’s a balance to find in keeping the lads fresh and I thought we got that about right."

Boro defenders Alex Bangura and Anfernee Dijksteel are available again, though, with both starting on the bench against Cardiff after injury setbacks.