Boro are currently playing in the Championship and are in contention of automatic promotion to the top flight of English football at the end of the season.
“I wouldn’t say we were in the shadows of Newcastle and Sunderland anyway, being a Middlesbrough fan,” Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, 22 told The Gazette.
"We have achieved things. We’ve been in the UEFA Cup final, won the Carling Cup and spent a long time in the Premier League.
"At the moment the club is like that a little bit because we are in the Championship, but we are far from in their shadow.”
Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough are big North-East rivals, but at the moment only two of them are in the Premier League.
However, come next season, Middlesbrough could well find themselves among the big boys, while Sunderland could be playing Championship football.
While Aitor Karanka’s side are just a point off the second automatic promotion spot, the Black Cats are only three points above the relegation zone.
Meanwhile, Newcastle continue to remain also-rans in the Premier League and are set to finish in mid-table once again this season.
John Carver’s side are currently 13th in the league table with 35 points from 32 matches.
Middlesbrough are in action tonight when they take on Norwich City away from home at Carrow Road in the Championship.