Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has spoken of his respect for Sunderland manager Roy Keane ahead of Saturday's derby game.
Southgate and Keane are both in the early stages of their managerial careers and their two sides meet for the first time at The Riverside this weekend.
"We are both making our steps (into management)," Southgate said. "I was very impressed with Roy when I met him last year.
"I hold him in high esteem as a player and a person. I'm not surprised he's doing a good job as a manager. I have a lot of respect for him."
The former Boro defender understands that his team will be in for a tough match against a Sunderland side who picked up a 2-1 win over Reading last week.
"It will be a strong physical game," he said. "They had a good result last weekend and will be looking forward to the derby as much as we are.
"They have a lot of new players, but it's a transition for them. They are finding out whether they can play in this division."
Southgate knows what is needed of his team going into the game and understands what a North East derby is all about.
He added: "We know what these derby games mean to the fans, but also to the players. We want to win this game in particular.
"We must show fighting qualities, and the players have been. Everybody who pulls on a shirt for us is giving everything. We have to work harder than Sunderland and outplay them."
Meanwhile, former Black Cats midfielder Julio Arca feels Boro's new strikeforce will start clicking in the coming games.
Middlesbrough sold Mark Viduka and Yakubu Aiyegbeni in the summer and have not seen an immediate return from new faces Jeremie Aliadiere, Tuncay or Mido, with Aliadiere now ruled out through injury.
And Arca said: "Losing Yakubu and Viduka was difficult. They were important players. But now we have to move on.
"New players have come in, players who maybe have not been involved much in their teams before, so they are really looking forward to doing everything they can."