Manchester United must head to Sunderland FC aiming to respond to last weekend’s disappointing 2-1 home defeat by Swansea, if they are to keep all hopes of a top-four finish alive.
Manager Louis van Gaal did set off for conquest on the wrong footing in his first Premier League match, but must look to maintain the club’s positive away form from last season’s seventh-place finish, which produced 34 points from a possible 57.
The ‘Black Cats’ will be basking in confidence after eliminating United in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup last term out, followed by another 1-0 win at Old Trafford- then-interim manager Ryan Giggs’ first loss at the helm- in May.
New signing Marcos Rojo is expected to make his United debut after joining from Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday, in a deal which had Luis Nani move in the opposite direction.
Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck, Jonny Evans and Antonio Valencia all trained on Thursday and are in contention, but Jesse Lingard, who limped out during Saturday’s home loss is unlikely to feature. Michael Carrick and Luke Shaw remain injured.
Gustavo Poyet’s men come into Sunday afternoon fixture on the back of an encouraging 2-2 draw at West Bromwich Albion.
Youngster Connor Wickham’s form in the second half of the previous campaign is believed to have kept the club in the top flight. He will be saddled with the responsibility of leading his side’s attack at the Stadium of Light.
The only injury concern at Sunderland are Billy Jones (hamstring), Emmanuele Giaccherini (groin) and Santiago Vergnini.
Kick-off time: 16:00 BST (4pm Nigerian time)