Middlesbrough have announced on their official website that the club are set to play local rivals Sunderland in a pre-season friendly at the Riverside Stadium on Friday 27th July.

The game will be the first meeting between Middlesbrough and Sunderland since the Black Cats were relegated to League One at the end of last season.

Middlesbrough are currently enduring pre-season training in Austria this week. They start their pre-season campaign on Thursday as they face Austrian outfit Sturm Graz at the Well Welt Stadion in Kumberg.

Boro then face a number of English sides in the build up to starting the Championship season in August, as they get the campaign underway at The Den as they face Millwall. Middlesbrough play Accrington Stanley, Rochdale and Hartlepool United away from home before playing host to rivals Sunderland the week before the season begins.

The clubs official website have announced that this will be the only home pre-season fixture before the start of the new season.

Tony Pulis has said that he will likely give chances to youth players in pre-season, who will have the chance to impress the Welshman. This will be Pulis’ first pre-season with Boro, and he will want to explore the depths of his squad thoroughly before facing Millwall on the opening weekend.

Additionally, he will presumably give pre-season minutes to new signings Aden Flint, who signed from Bristol City, and Paddy McNair, who signed from Sunderland. McNair may not have thought it would be this soon that he would be facing his old teammates, after signing earlier this month.

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Lifelong Boro fan - from the highs of watching Juninho and the Carling Cup victory, to the lows of Gordon Strachan and Lee Dong Gook

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