Wayne Rooney, however, might miss the reunion with former Red John O’Shea, as the United striker will face a late fitness test ahead of the game with the shin injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s trip to Donetsk still troubling the 27-year-old.
Sunderland, who have lost four consecutive Premier League games and are desperate to lose a fifth game on the bounce for the first time since 2006, have picked up only three points in their last 10 Premier League games and have scored just eight goals in their last 11 outings but look a much happier camp under caretaker Kevin Ball than they did at anytime this season under Paolo Di Canio.
United, themselves keen to avoid losing three Premier League games in a row for the first time since December 2001, have been woeful over the last two league games, but David Moyes, who has only lost one of his 16 Premier League meetings with Sunderland, insisted that his team will come good over the course of the season.
“We’re concerned that we didn’t win against West Brom, that is the biggest concern. There’s a long way to go in the Premier League, (it’s a) long season, you’ll see great changes as the season goes on so we’ll hang in there and get ourselves as close to the top as soon as we can.
“I think Manchester United is a good club. I’m sure they know they picked the right man for the job and Sir Alex was part of that process as well.”
One would hope Moyes’ confidence will be transmitted to his players, who have looked devoid of ideas and passion this season but will be able to count on Robin Van Persie for the first league game since the 2-0 win at home against Crystal Palace.
The Dutchman will lead United’s frontline as he did in Ukraine on Wednesday but one between Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverley could be dropped to make space for Nani or United fans’ favourite Ashley Young, while Antonio Valencia is expected to retain his spot on the other flank.
Patrice Evra and Rafael are likely to be Moyes’ first choice as full-backs, while Rio Ferdinand could miss out again due to a thigh injury, thus paving the way for either Chris Smalling or Jonny Evans to partner Nemaja Vidic in the middle of United’s back four who could have to deal with Fabio Borini, as the former Swansea and Liverpool striker is again available for selection after missing out last week’s clash against Liverpool.
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