What Sunderland boss Michael Beale has just said about Tony Mowbray and Birmingham City

Tony Mowbray takes on his former club Sunderland with Birmingham City for the first time and his successor has had his say.
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Sunderland will show their respects to their former manager Tony Mowbray ahead of their clash with Birmingham City, admits Michael Beale.

Mowbray was relieved of his duties as Black Cats boss in December and was subsequently replaced by Beale. Beale had been manager of Rangers before his sacking in September and his previous experience of management in England prior to his appointment at Sunderland was at Queens Park Rangers.

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For the first time since his departure from Wearside he will come up against his former club. Birmingham host Sunderland at St Andrew's and it could act as an opportunity for the visiting fans to show their gratitude to Mowbray, who took over the reins from Alex Neil who had led them to League One play-off success.

"Firstly I don't think Tony has anything to prove to the Sunderland fans or people here," said Beale to our friends at the Sunderland Echo.

"I think our fans will show their class, and he didn't get a chance to say goodbye either, so that's natural, and then we'll play the game.

"It's Sunderland vs Birmingham, it's a big game. I think the niceties, which I think should happen, will happen and then it's about us going there and getting a result. Every team in this league has got something to play for.

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Birmingham might hold a slight advantage on Saturday as Mowbray was in the dugout at Sunderland up until December. He will have played a role in recruiting some of their players and helped galvanise them to achieve a play-off spot last season.

Since Mowbray's departure, Sunderland haven't made any wholesale changes to the squad that he helped assemble. Leo Hjelde was signed from Leeds United as was Romaine Mundle and Rhys Walsh from Standard Liege and Glentoran. Callum Styles joined on Deadline Day from Barnsley on a season-long loan deal until the end of the season and was a reported target for Birmingham last month.

Sunderland's only permanent departures have been Alex Pritchard to Birmingham and Josh Robertson to Brighton & Hove Albion. Several players such as Jewison Bennette, Jay Matete, Eliezer Mayenda and Nectarios Triantis departed on loan for Aris Thessaloniki, Oxford United and Hibernian.

"I think we'll find out after the game," responded Beale when asked about Mowbray knowing the opposition.

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It's clear that he knows our players. Maybe there will be one or two that have a point to prove to him.

"What I would say is there is a lot of respect for Tony Mowbray here at Sunderland and I think the fans will show that and I think the players will show that to him and the staff who worked with him."

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