The Stadium of Light

Preview: Sunderland v Manchester United

by Stuart Vose

Get the low-down ahead of Saturday’s game.

Sunderland and Manchester United will meet for the 135th time in all competitions this weekend.

United hold the advantage with 59 wins to Sunderland’s 39, with a further 36 games ending all square.

The Red Devils head north holding a commanding 15-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League having lost just three of their 29 league games this season, with two of those defeats coming on the road.

They boast 74 points, with Manchester City in second place on 59 with only nine games left to play.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are also pushing in the FA Cup with Budweiser, with a tie against Chelsea scheduled for Easter Monday.

But the veteran boss will be looking to ensure his side don’t let City close in – starting with this weekend’s game on Wearside.

Sunderland, meanwhile, are looking to do a Manchester double at home having beaten City 1-0 on Boxing Day thanks to a lone goal from Adam Johnson.

The Black Cats haven’t tasted a league win over United since March 1997 and boss Martin O’Neill will be hoping his side can end that drought this weekend.

No side has scored more than United’s 30 goals on their travels, while the Old Trafford club have conceded just 16 times away from home. Their plus-28 goal difference overall is 10 ahead of the next-best side, Chelsea.

Sunderland boss O’Neill must contend with an injury list which includes Steven Fletcher (ankle) and Lee Cattermole (knee) – both of whom have been ruled out for the season.

Meanwhile Carlos Cuellar (ankle) also misses out, but O’Neill is hopeful that Stephane Sessegnon will be fit after an injury forced him to withdraw from the Benin international squad.

Tickets for the game are still on sale – find out more.