Sunderland will be looking to maintain their magnificent start to the 2023-24 campaign against the inform Middlesbrough.
The Black Cats are only one point worse off after 10 games then during their record breaking 1998-99 season, where they collected 105 points under Peter Reid.
However, they face a Boro side aiming for a fourth consecutive league win.
The Teessiders managed their first clean sheet of the season in mid-week, and according to manager Michael Carrick “looked in control” during a 2-0 victory over Cardiff City.
Of course, Cardiff are the only side to beat Sunderland during an eight game run which saw them pick up 19 points since defeat at Preston back in August.
Carrick said his team would need to “manage” the emotion of the game, and that clear thinking would be vital to win the “constant battle [for] peak performance”.
Sunderland boss, Tony Mowbray also sees this as an “emotional [and] passionate game” but couldn’t compare it to “a Tyne-Wear derby”.
Boro have been impacted by a bout of illness, leaving doubts over Darragh Lenihan and Jonny Howson.
Sunderland are still without Pierre Ekwah and now unsung figure Alex Pritchard, who picked up a knock against Watford on Wednesday.