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Preview: Poyet Searching For Cup Advantage

Everything you'll need before tonight's Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester United.

Richard Heathcote

Sunderland Team News

Gus Poyet will choose from a near fully fit squad as John O'Shea, Valentine Roberge and Modibo Diakite all come back into contention after missing Sunday's FA Cup win over Carlisle United. The defensive trio will likely compete for one starting spot alongside Wes Brown, who returned in the 3-1 victory following a three-match suspension.

Elsewhere, Lee Cattermole could well return despite his error against Aston Villa. Poyet's remarks about the combative midfielder after the quarter-final win over Chelsea suggest this is the sort of game that Poyet will opt for Cattermole in midfield.

Ahead of that, Adam Johnson's performance against Carlisle should see him start, with there being options on the left flank in Emanuele Giaccherini, Fabio Borini or recent incumbent Ji Dong-Won.

Finally, Marcos Alonso has received international clearance and could well make his debut after joining on loan from Fiorentina.

Manchester United Team News

David Moyes is likely to call upon some of his more experienced charges as Michael Carrick, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic are all expected to return. Given the importance of the game, the experience of Ryan Giggs could well be utilised in midfield.

David De Gea is almost certain to come in for Anders Lindegard in goal, whilst Wayne Rooney could persevere with a groin problem that had kept him out prior to the New Year's Day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

Robin Van Persie, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young, Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jones remain sidelined.

Predicted Lineups

<a href="" title="Click to view tactic"><img src="" alt="Manchester United vs Sunderland - Football tactics and formations" /></a>

Sunderland: Mannone; Bardsley, Brown, O'Shea, Alonso; Cattermole; Johnson, Ki, Giaccherini, Borini; Altidore

Manchester United: De Gea; Smalling, Vidic, Evans, Evra; Carrick, Giggs; Valencia, Rooney, Januzaj; Welbeck

Key Matchup: Ki Seung-Yeung vs Michael Carrick

Both players will be key to determine the rhythm for their respective teams, and with United arriving on Wearside following back-to-back defeats, it may take some time for them to implement a passing game. Whilst Ki is undoubtedly key with possession, he will also need to set the tempo in terms of closing United down (with the help of those flanking the central midfield) as Cattermole is likely to be the protective ‘screen' for the back four.

Recent Form: WWWWLL

Win: Stoke City 0-2 Manchester United (Young 62, Evra 78)

Win: Manchester United 3-1 West Ham United (Welbeck 26, Januzaj 36, Young 72; C Cole 81)

Win: Hull City 2-3 Manchester United (Chester 4, Meyler 13; Smalling 19, Rooney 26, Chester og 66)

Win: Norwich City 0-1 Manchester United (Welbeck 57)

Loss: Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Welbeck 67; Adebayor 34, Eriksen 66)

Loss: Manchester United 1-2 Swansea City (Hernandez 16; Routledge 12, Bony 90)

Last Time Around: Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United, 05/10/13

Well, it started out alright. In one of the strongest first halves of football Sunderland have displayed this season, Craig Gardner's early goal put the home side in front before they would go on to create - but fail to take - a number of well-worked opportunities.

However, we've seen this happen all before, but this time some young little upstart was the party crasher - Adnan Janujaz marking his Premier League debut with a brace in the second half.

The Ref: Andre Marriner

Yes, him again.

What The Manager Said

Gus Poyet

The players are relaxed. It's a cup game against a top team and it looks like - not for me - that if you lose, nothing happens. For me, if you lose, you are not a winner. You're a loser, but it could be that it brings something different to the players, not as individuals, but as a group. If it continues, great, we are in a cup final.

If you are playing Chelsea in the league and it is 1-1, how many of the players would take a draw? But in the cup, you must win.

I keep saying this, but more and more in football it's the mental side of things that's most important. Fitness, the difference is not a lot. Technically, they're very similar. But mentally, taking decisions, that is the difference. We must be brave enough to make that count.

David Moyes

Our approach to Sunderland had to have the FA Cup game in mind because it was two matches in 48 hours.

It has always been vital for us to win every game and get to every final if we can. There is a job in front of us in every competition we enter. We have got to overcome Sunderland in a two-game match to reach the final.

I watched Sunderland beat Chelsea and not only are they fighting for Gus Poyet but he has also got them playing some good football. It will be a more difficult game than people think.

Roker Report Predicts

That we'll be able to go to Old Trafford with something to hold on to. Obviously, being a two-legged tie that does not suggest too much optimism on my part, but I feel we have enough to trouble a United back line that has looked particularly shaky of late - against Hull it showed that it can submit to pressure. So we'll opt for 1-1, with Borini scoring.

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