Manchester United Preview - Away, Nov 5
SUNDERLAND ARE will be looking to play the role of party poopers on the weekend of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25th anniversary as Manchester United manager.
The Red Devils will however be looking to continue their recovery from the 6-1 debacle at rivals City with back-to-back wins at the scene of the crime.
United currently trail their 'noisy neighbors' by five points in the Premier League standings but secured victory against Otelul Galati in the Champions League, going some way toward erasing the trama.
One of the key strengths of Sir Alex's tenure at Old Trafford has been his ability to re-evaluate and re-build the team when needed.
This summer was just the latest re-building of what has remained a strong side throughout. Heavy investment was made in youth with Ashley Young, David De Gea and Phil Jones all arriving for sums which would fetch little change out of £20m.
However Wayne Rooney still remains the key man for the Red Devils and is quickly putting last season's blip behind him. Nine goals from just nine league appearances suggest the England and United talisman is back to his best.
Alongside Rooney former Sunderland loanee Danny Welbeck has starred, leaving Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen clutching at straws.
In what has been something of a breakthrough season for the Salford-born youngster, Welbeck has found himself as the preferred partner to Rooney, striking five times in 10 league and cup appearances for United.
Behind Rooney and Welbeck, £18m man Young has impressed hugely as he too has stepped up following his summer arrival from Aston Villa. Two goals from his first eight league appearances for United have made him a key cog in the United attack. Coupled with a couple of goals for England in Euro 2012 qualification, it's been a hugely impressive few months for the Stevenage-born forward.
Ferguson will be without Owen (thigh), Young (toe), Ryan Giggs (hamstring), Chris Smalling (foot) and Tom Cleverley (ankle).
Former pupil Bruce could be without Welsh midfielder David Vaughan meaning Lee Cattermole would step up from the bench.
Simon Mignolet is out meaning Kieren Westwood will make his full debut between the sticks. John O'Shea will be replaced by Phil Bardsley.
Manchester United: De Gea; Fabio, Jones, Vidic (c), Evra; Valencia, Fletcher, Park, Nani; Rooney and Hernandez.
Sunderland: Westwood; Bardsley, Turner, Brown (c), Richardson; Larsson, Vaughan, Colback, Sessegnon; Bendtner and Wickham.