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Dec 13, 2012

Sunderland wait on trio for United trip

Sunderland are facing a trio of injury concerns ahead of their trip to Manchester United on Saturday.

• Blog: Sunderland Poznan riles United

Defender Phil Bardsley is already considered unlikely to make a return to his first club after limping off during Tuesday's 3-0 win against Reading - half an hour after coming on as a substitute. While still unconfirmed, Martin O'Neill revealed after the game that the likely prognosis is ligament damage, which will be a huge blow for both the Black Cats and Bardsley, who has suffered an injury plagued season thus far.

Adam Johnson, the man Bardsley replaced against the Royals is also considered a major doubt for the trip after taking a heavy knock to his ankle, with on-loan defender Danny Rose also forced to leave the pitch midway through the second half. O'Neill had given his players Wednesday off after their vital win against Brian McDermott's side that lifted the club out of the relegation zone.

With the Sunderland manager eager to construct a good run of form off the back of Tuesday's result, his job will be made considerably harder if all three are unavailable for their trip to Old Trafford.

Bardsley will undergo a scan today to confirm the extent of his injury, while a decision on Johnson's inclusion will be made late on Friday.

Perhaps the most concerning potential omission is Rose. The young full-back has been in good form for Sunderland since joining on loan from Tottenham in the summer. Despite his best efforts to remain on the pitch until full-time against Reading he was withdrawn to a standing ovation - with the club believed to be optimistic of his chances of making the game on Saturday.

Having only beaten Manchester United once in 22 attempts in the Premier League, if O'Neill's men can pull off an upset they could overtake local rivals Newcastle, who face Manchester City at St James' Park.

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