Sunderland welcome Manchester United to the Stadium of Light on Saturday still smarting from last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Anfield after Dirk Kuyt’s controversial opener.
Whilst Darren Bent’s double rescued a point for the Black Cats, Steve Bruce couldn’t hide his frustration after the match and will be hoping his players can use that to good effect and grab all three points from his former side.
Certainly the visit of Sir Alex Ferguson’s men should hold few fears for the Wearsiders who have grabbed five of their seven points from some of the big boys this season, beating Manchester City and drawing with Arsenal and Liverpool.
Their strong record against the top teams has led a confident Darren Bent to warn the visitors to expect a tough game as he told the club's official website this week: "I can't remember the last time we lost to a so-called big team at home."
United’s travel sickness cured?
Yet Manchester United only have to cast their mind back to last May to find their last victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light when a Nani goal in the penultimate game of the season was enough to secure victory.
That victory may feel like a long time ago now with United struggling on their travels this season having drawn all three away games, at Bolton Wanderers, Everton and Fulham, whilst conceding seven goals along the way.
However, a midweek Champions League win over Valencia at the Mestalla will have proved a real tonic for United, with a late Javier Hernandez goal stealing victory, but the clean sheet at the other end was also as important.
Smash n grab | Hernandez secures victory against Valencia
Anton Ferdinand, John Mensah and Kieran Richardson are all injury doubts for the home side while on loan United striker Danny Welbeck is ineligible and must sit this one out.
David Meyler is close to a return to training but Fraizer Campbell is not expected back for at least six months after cruciate ligament damage.
Possible starting XI: Mignolet; Onuoha, Bramble, Turner, Bardsley; Al-Muhammadi, Henderson, Cattermole, Malbranque; Bent, Gyan.
The visitors have injury problems with Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia and Ryan Giggs all out and Paul Scholes a doubt.
Whether Rio Ferdinand can manage two games in a week is also a subject of some debate and if not, Jonny Evans should take his place. Rafael may also keep his place in defence after a solid midweek showing.
Possible starting XI: Van der Sar; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Fletcher, Anderson, Park; Berbatov, Hernandez.
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