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Striker Fabio Borini returns to the Sunderland squad for Saturday evening’s Premier League clash with Manchester United.

The 22-year-old was ineligible for Sunday’s 3-1 home defeat by parent club Liverpool under the terms of his loan agreement, but will hand interim head coach Kevin Ball a fresh option for the United game.

Ball has no fresh injury worries with striker Steven Fletcher continuing his recovery from a dislocated shoulder, while defenders Wes Brown and Andrea Dossena work their way back to full fitness.

Meanwhile, United manager David Moyes will check on the fitness of Wayne Rooney.

Rooney missed Wednesday’s Champions League encounter with Shakhtar Donetsk due to a shin problem – his fourth injury this season – and Moyes offered no update in Friday’s pre-match press conference.

United are looking to avoid suffering three consecutive Premier League defeats for the first time since 2001 but have won on six of their last seven visits to Wearside.

Remarkably, this match is a clash between two sides struggling for form in the Premier League and managers who desperately need a good result to justify their positions.

Manchester United’s David Moyes needs three points to prevent a poor start becoming a terrible one in his new job.

Sunderland’s caretaker manager Kevin Ball could do with a shock victory to push his claim to be considered a realistic candidate to replace Paolo Di Canio on a permanent basis.

Stat of the game: The last time Manchester United had seven points from six games, in the 1989-90 season, they went on to finish 13th.

Sunderland (Possible, 4-4-1-1): Westwood; Gardner, O’Shea, Cuellar, Colback; Larsson, Ki, Cattermole, Johnson; Giaccherini; Altidore.
Out: Brown (calf), Dossena (thigh), S Fletcher (shoulder).

Manchester United (Possible, 4-2-3-1): De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Vidic, Evra; Fellaini, Carrick; Nani, Rooney, Welbeck; Van Persie.
Out: D Fletcher (illness), Ferdinand (groin).
Test: Rooney (shin).

Referee: Chris Foy. Matches: 2. R0 Y5.

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