Sunderland cannot let rivals beat them to Norwich City's Cameron Jerome

Sunderland fans

Middlesbrough will battle it out with Sunderland as Norwich City tell Cameron Jerome that he can leave Carrow Road.

Norwich's Cameron Jerome scores their first goalNorwich's Cameron Jerome

With Newcastle United roaring back to the Premier League, lifting the Championship title along the way, at least some fans in the North East had something to cheer last season.

Because while the Magpies finished top of the second tier, local rivals Middlesbrough and Sunderland finished just one and two places above them in the English football table.

Ending the season in 19th and 20th place in the Premier League, Boro and the Black Cats will be playing in the Championship next season. And, as by far the two lowest scorers in the Premier League in 2016/17, it does not take a genius to work out that attacking reinforcements are a must.

And it appears that they have both had the same thought. The Shields Gazette claim that Middlesbrough and Sunderland will go head-to-head for the signature of Cameron Jerome this summer after the striker was told he could leave Norwich City.

Though it may be a little over-dramatic to suggest that great minds think alike, Jerome is exactly the kind of striker who could make the transition to the second tier a little easier. He netted 16 times in 40 games for Norwich last season, a respectable record made more impressive when you consider they finished well adrift of the play-off places.

Everton's Tim Howard in action with Norwich's Cameron Jerome

Clearly, Jerome has plenty of second tier pedigree. 18 goals helped Norwich to promotion in 2014/15, plus another in the play-off final against Middlesbrough.

And he also fired Birmingham City into the top flight in both 2007 and 2009.

Birmingham City's Cameron Jerome shoots at goal

Therefore, with Sunderland losing Jermain Defoe, scorer of over half of their 29 league goals last season, and Victor Anichebe and Fabio Borini set to move elsewhere, nabbing Jerome is an opportunity Sunderland can’t afford to miss.

Missing out to Boro could make the difference between Sunderland pushing for the top six or falling into mid-table mediocrity.

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