The Capital One Cup tie is Sunderland's second derby in just over a week.
He told the Daily Mail: "When I first went back to Boro with Wigan, that was the most nervous I've been before a game. It's a bit different this time around because I haven't been getting home too much.
"There'll be 3,000 Boro fans here and I'm sure I'll know most of them. I'm sure I'll get booed, but then again I get booed most places I go.
"I was delighted when we drew Middlesbrough in the FA Cup last year, but I pulled my hamstring on the Friday before the game and had to sit out the game. I also missed the return leg at Middlesbrough.
"Boro will always be close to my heart and I will always be asking after them. I still speak to quite a few people down there and people like Woodgate, Parnaby and Bates are still mates.
"You move around in football, but I will always remember my time at Middlesbrough very fondly."