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Striker Wayne Rooney is a major doubt for Manchester United’s match against Sunderland with illness and a groin problem.

Fellow striker Robin van Persie is not quite ready to return will be assessed on Friday to see whether he has recovered from the knee injury which has sidelined him since March 19.

Goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard and defender Rafael are doubts while interim player-manager Ryan Giggs has said he is unlikely to name himself in the match day squad.

Meanwhile, Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has no fresh injury problems.

Midfielder Liam Bridcutt returned to the squad for last weekend’s 4-0 victory over Cardiff after being given compassionate leave following complications with the birth of his son.

Poyet has reported only a series of minor knocks, leaving defender Carlos Cuéllar and midfielder Ki on the sidelines along with long-term absentees keeper Keiren Westwood and striker Steven Fletcher.

Though they secured a trip to Wembley for the Capital One Cup Final with a penalty shoot-out victory at Old Trafford in January, Sunderland’s last league win at the same stadium dates back to May 1968, so Gus Poyet’s team require a long overdue success against United in order to virtually banish relegation fears.

With United’s players giving their all for interim manager Ryan Giggs, Sunderland may find this fixture more difficult than their last visit to the red half of Manchester.

Stat of the game: Manchester United are unbeaten in the Premier League against Sunderland, winning 10 and drawing two of 12 previous encounters.

Manchester United (Possible, 4-4-1-1): De Gea; Smalling, Jones, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Fletcher; Valencia, Mata, Young; Welbeck.
Tests: Rafael (thigh), Rooney (illness/groin), Lindegaard (illness), Van Persie (knee).

Sunderland (Possible, 4-3-3): Mannone; Vergini, O’Shea, Brown, Alonso; Larsson, Cattermole, Colback; Johnson, Wickham, Borini.
Out: Cuéllar (hamstring), Fletcher (ankle), Ki (knee), Westwood (shoulder).

Referee: Howard Webb. Matches: 29, R2 Y88.

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