As is usual here on Roker Report, we caught up with the opposition view ahead of Middlesbrough's return to the Stadium of Light this evening. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a willing blogger to answer our questions - so we went down the unorthodox route of prying answers from two contributors to the popular 'boro forum, oneboro.co.uk.
You're on an excellent run in the league, do you think this could be your season promotion wise?
Vectorboro: Considering our injury list which keeps on growing we are certainly in with a chance if we continue with our current form.
Armster: I feel we'll be in the top 6. Whether we'll make it over the line I'm not 100% - only 99% sure we're going up!
What has changed this term from last time around?
V: There seems to be a togetherness with our squad this season and a fighting spirit.
A: We've more strength in depth, we've hung on to the majority of the performers from last year and added pace, flair and determination from both new players and young players coming through.
We met twice in the cup last season, are there any feelings of 'revenge' attached to tonight's encounter?
V: Most Boro fans felt hard done by last season so revenge is what they are hoping for.
A: I do feel we deserved a result against Sunderland last season, and I was bitterly disapointed walking away from the Riverside. Revenge is not attached to this encounter, as it's just the normal rivalry from my point of view.
How 'seriously' have you been taking the League Cup? Can we expect a full-strength team, or do you expect to see a few changes?
V: Mowbray always takes the cup competitions seriously so expect the strongest possible side that he can field this evening.
A: We will always field a full (or close to full) strength team for cup games, as despite the focus being on the league, a disappointing showing in this cup - regardless of the result - could have knock on effects to our league form.
How do you expect the team to line-up?
V: We will be set up as a 4-1-4-1 -with [Ismael] Miller playing upfront on his own.
A: Shhhh its a secret! Its not a secret that we have massive injury issues with nine first team players injured and McEachran unavailable due to loan agreements. This being said, we'll still field a strong enough team to give you a challenge.
What are your thoughts on the ticketing allocation?
V: I thought it was bad and it will just result in some Boro fans sitting in the home end.
A: Ridiculous. However, it doesn't appear to be just us. It seems to be most games where you "can't handle the extra fans".
Who should we be wary of coming up against tonight?
V: Scott McDonald is scoring and Nicky Bailey will be fired up.
A: Cattermole should be wary of Leadbitter. I've a feeling Haroun will be instrumental in this game.
And on the other side of the coin, is there anyone in the Sunderland team who you think might cause you problems?
V: I fully expect Jinky [Adam Johnson] and Cattermole to be revved up for this match.
A: Jinky Johnson will definitely score one past us, Fletcher is a worry, but other than them I don't see many problems being caused. Except Cattermole breaking another 'Boro player's legs, putting them out of the game for over a year like Dider Digard...
Can I get a prediction please?
V: 1-1 at full time.
A: 2-1 Boro hopefully, could be 2-1 sunderland though...it'll be tight.
And… Can we clear this up, once and forall? Is Sunderland v Middlesbrough a derby?
V: Martin O'Neill says it is - so there is your answer.
A: For me it is, I grew up in Boldon. Went to school in Sunderland. So hell yeah, it's a derby.
Many thanks to both 'Vectorboro' and 'Armster' for their time. If, for whatever reason, you fancy a look on the Middlesbrough forum they reside upon, you can find it at oneboro.co.uk.