Boro chief Tony Pulis would relish a repeat of his trip to the 2011 FA Cup final with Stoke.
Pulis said: “I’ve got great respect for the FA Cup – I think it’s the best cup competition in the world and having been there with Stoke and taken a team to Wembley, it was a fantastic experience and if we could do it again I would be delighted.”
People talk about promotion and there’s no-one who wants promotion more than me, but my remit was to come here and have a really good look at the place and try to build something.Middlesbrough boss, Tony Pulis
Goals from Rudy Gestede and Martin Braithwaite secured a comfortable victory for the Boro against the severely weakened visitors, who have 11 players on their injury list.
Pulis continued: “We played really well in the first half. In the second half, we started really sloppy but I’m pleased with the way the players went about it. We’ve had four wins out of five games now so the confidence is very good.”
Despite Boro’s return to the fringes of the Championship play-off race, Pulis resisted the urge to target promotion, insisting it is still too early in his time at the Riverside to make such a judgment.
He added: “People talk about promotion and there’s no-one who wants promotion more than me, but my remit was to come here and have a really good look at the place and try to build something.”
Sunderland chief Chris Coleman questioned the loyalty of some of his more experienced players. While hailing the young players who stepped in Coleman issued a warning that he will not tolerate others who he clearly believes are not up for the Championship relegation fight.
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Gibson, Friend (Christie 90), Leadbitter, Howson, Traore (Johnson 81), Braithwaite (Clayton 65), Downing, Gestede. Unused substitutes: Konstantopoulos, Assombalonga, Fletcher, Forshaw.
Sunderland: Steele, Jones, Browning, O’Shea, Wilson, Oviedo, Honeyman, Love, Robson (Embleton 81), McManaman (Asoro 53), Maja (Vaughan 74). Unused substitutes: Galloway, Ruiter, Beadling, Gamble.
Referee: C Kavanagh (Lancashire).