Man United v Sunderland - LIVE

Last updated : 15 December 2012 By DSG

Vidic back for United

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Nemanja Vidic will return to the Manchester United squad for the encounter with Sunderland.

Vidic has been out since September following another bout of knee surgery and, while Ferguson has not decided whether to start with the Serbian at Old Trafford, he confirmed it was a major boost to have him back.

"Nemanja is back in the squad," said Ferguson. "He is a top defender and our captain."

Ferguson also confirmed Shinji Kagawa would begin training with the first-team again after a two-month absence.

However, Jonny Evans has been ruled out of the game with a hamstring injury.

"I felt it would be a problem for Jonny at the start of the second half last week," said Ferguson.

Meanwhile, Ferguson insists revenge will not be a factor for his side.

The United camp were irritated at the way Sunderland fans reacted so gleefully when Sergio Aguero scored his injury-time winner at the Etihad Stadium to earn Manchester City the title last term.

After beating Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, the Red Devils players were still on the pitch when Aguero's strike went in.

At the time, Ferguson was unhappy, while Wayne Rooney said in his autobiography that Sunderland was a fixture he would be looking out for more keenly than usual this term.

However, it seems that will not be part of the Scot's team talk.

"It was disappointing given the number of players we have given them down the years, but there was no malice in it and there is no element of revenge," said Ferguson.

"Winning the game is more important for us given what we achieved last week.

"Now we really need to kick on and make sure we retain our lead at the top of the league."

Meanwhile, Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has challenged his side to play with more freedom against the Barclays Premier League leaders following their morale-boosting win over Reading.

The Black Cats boss celebrated a year in charge of the club with a 3-0 victory over the Royals on Tuesday night which lifted his side out of the relegation zone. 

It was Sunderland's third league win of the season was very timely ahead of a tricky set of fixtures which will see them take on Man Utd, Manchester City, Southampton and Tottenham before the New Year.

However, O'Neill is refusing to see the next run of games as a barren patch when it comes to points, especially after their performance earlier this week.

"Of course winning matches is very important but it's given everyone that confidence boost and hopefully we will be able to continue that between now and the Christmas period and into the New Year," O'Neill told reporters.

"We have a real battle on of course against Manchester United but we can go there with some confidence because of the result during the week and actually go and play with some freedom as well. 

"Someone was suggesting a few days ago that these are not our battles but that's not the point but that's too easy. 

"We have to go and compete every single week in this league and I don't think you can start to allocate points here and take points away there. Go and play." 

If Sunderland were to win at Old Trafford it would be the first time they have done so since 1968.

O'Neill could be forced into making some changes after the win over Reading came at a cost.

Winger Adam Johnson suffered a dead leg and Danny Rose was also replaced after he picked up a knock on his ankle.

Defender Phil Bardsley looks set to be ruled out and joins captain Lee Cattermole on the sidelines after he damaged knee ligaments in Tuesday's match.

However, O'Neill remains hopeful that striker Steven Fletcher could feature despite an ongoing ankle problem.

Source: DSG

Source: DSG