Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking to cement his side's place at the top of the Premier League table when Manchester United take on Sunderland at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The leaders head into the game against the struggling Black Cats off the back of last Sunday's dramatic derby triumph over reigning champions Manchester City, while Martin O'Neill's men are in good spirits their 3-0 victory over Reading at the Stadium of Light on Monday night.

Sunderland will also take confidence from the fact they travel to Manchester this weekend with the only manager to have won twice at Old Trafford with two different clubs during the Premier League era, though in order to make it a hat-trick of victories, they will have to quash the threat posed by frequent tormenter Robin van Persie.

With seven goals in nine appearances against the Wearsiders, the Dutchman will be looking to add to the 14 goals he has scored already for his new club this season, as his partnership with Wayne Rooney in attack continues to blossom.

Manchester United have kept only three clean sheets in the league this season, but could be boosted in defence by the return of captain Nemanja Vidic, who has been sidelined since September following knee surgery.

Jonny Evans is likely to make way after he came off with a hamstring injury against Manchester City, and he joins midfield duo Nani and Anderson on the treatment table.

Anders Lindegaard is available again after he missed the clash at the Etihad Stadium to be with his wife who gave birth last week, but David De Gea could keep his place in goal after an impressive performance.


Manchester United starting XI:

De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Cleverley Valencia, Young; Rooney, Van Persie.

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