Wes Brown is hoping for a good cup run with Sunderland as he feels it will boost morale.
Brown won the FA Cup twice with Manchester United, in 1999 and 2004, and feels the Black Cats have the potential to do well in the competition this season.
He joined Sunderland last summer for a bargain £1million and is confident progressing in the cup will be good for the squad, starting with a win against North East rivals Middlesbrough.
He told the Northern Echo: "It is a big tie for me. It will be a good match. Middlesbrough are doing OK at the minute - despite losing at Coventry.
"The fans will be really up for it and this type of tie makes it all the more exciting - that's what the FA Cup is all about."
The fans have been eagerly awaiting the derby game, but Brown is not getting distracted by the sideshow.
He added: "If I'm being honest, I don't really get involved in the derby stuff. I've just been thinking about the next game since the draw was made and I suppose we'll be thinking about this cup-tie now that it is our next game.
"A cup run would be great - we've got a good chance and if we could beat Middlesbrough and move on to the next stage then it brings us a step closer to Wembley."