Former Leeds United full-back takes swipe at Luke Ayling after North East derby

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Luke Ayling went up against former Leeds United man Jack Clarke on Sunday afternoon

Sunderland's Jack Clarke had Luke Ayling 'on toast' on Sunday afternoon, says former Leeds United full-back Ian Harte. Clarke went directly up against his former United teammate Ayling as Sunderland and Middlesbrough played out a 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium.

Marcus Forss opened the scoring for Michael Carrick's side in the second half, but Nazariy Rusyn equalised with seven minutes remaining, firing home from the edge of the area after seeing Clarke gets away from Ayling down the flank. Ultimately, with both Boro and the Black Cats having ambitions of claiming a top six spot in the Championship this season, it was a result that suited neither side.

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Harte, though, took to social media to outline his belief that Sunderland will be the happier of the two sides, while he also appeared to criticise the performance of Leeds loanee Ayling.

"Good result for @SunderlandAFC," Harte, who is the agent of Clarke, wrote on X. "Have to say @JackClarke09 had Luke on toast every opportunity, could have won it at the end. Imagine if they had out and out no. 9 would have so many goals."

Ayling was making just his third league appearance for Boro, having joined the club on loan from Leeds at the start of the January window. The right-back isn't expected to return to Elland Road, with his contract due to expire at the end of the season and he'll be determined to find form on Teesside and secure a new deal either at Middlesbrough or elsewhere for next season.

However, it's fair to say he can expect to have easier outings in the Championship over the remainder of the season, with Clarke underlining his status as one of the brightest talents outside of the Premier League with his form this season. The Elland Road academy graduate has bagged 13 goals in 30 league appearances this season.

Sam Greenwood and Leo Hjelde also featured in the game.

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