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There have been clear signs of improvement at Sunderland since Chris Coleman took the reins at the Stadium of Light, however the Black Cats have still endured what can only be described as an utterly appalling campaign and their cause certainly wasn't helped by a 1-0 home defeat to Barnsley last time out, a result which leaves them a point adrift at the foot of the Championship table.
The Black Cats have managed a mere four league wins since the start of the season although three of those have come under the guidance of Coleman and the former Wales boss will be hoping that there are better times ahead in the second half of the season. He can put Championship concerns to one side on Saturday afternoon however when his side make the journey to local rivals Middlesbrough in the third round of the FA Cup
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The Teessiders have appointed Tony Pulis as manager and they managed two wins from their three outings since Christmas, however the former West Bromwich Albion boss is renowned for not making this competition a priority over league matters despite taking Stoke City to the 2011 final.
There is every chance that he will rotate his squad for this cup match and while remaining in the Championship will certainly be of major importance for Sunderland boss Chris Coleman, he won't be averse to a decent cup run and we'll be backing his side to take Middlesbrough back to the Stadium of Light for a third round replay, at the very least.
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