Manchester United will be looking to get back to winning ways when they travel to the north-east to take on Premier League strugglers Sunderland on Saturday.
The Red Devils have enjoyed a good run of form since the turn of the year, losing just once in their last six league outings and progressing to the FA Cup fifth round.
Louis van Gaal’s side are on a two-match unbeaten run since going down 1-0 to Southampton, with a 3-o win over Stoke followed by the 1-1 draw at Chelsea last time out.
However, they still trail neighbours Manchester City by six points in fifth place as the race for the final Champions League spot hots up.
In contrast, the Black Cats are fighting for their top-flight survival and have 13 games to get themselves out of the relegation zone.
Sam Allardyce’s team staged a comeback against Liverpool last weekend, coming from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw.
That point took the 19th-placed Wearsiders within four points of safety, although they are searching for their first victory in five games this weekend.
In team news, the hosts welcome back striker Fabio Borini, who sat out the Anfield clash with a virus.
But Allardyce has a number of absentees to contend with as defender Younes Kaboul and striker Duncan Watmore both miss out with ankle ligament injuries, while Billy Jones is nursing a hip problem.
Meanwhile, winger Jeremain Lens is considered doubtful with a suspected hernia.
Van Gaal’s injury list is ever growing, with eight players now on the treatment table.
Phil Jones, Adnan Januzaj and Guillermo Varela all picked up knocks while playing for the Under-21’s on Monday and they join Luke Shaw (leg), Marcos Rojo (shoulder), Antonio Valencia (foot), Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee) and Ashley Young (groin) on the sidelines.