Both Sunderland and Manchester United are having a pretty tough time in the Premier League at the moment, though the League Cup still offers a sliver of hope of some silverware. They clash in the first leg of their semi-final at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday, with both sides looking to shake off poor form and put themselves in a commanding position for the return fixture.
Sunderland are currently sitting bottom of the Premier League, with Gus Poyet's side still strong favourites for relegation. Prior to their FA Cup victory over minnows Carlisle United on the weekend, the Black Cats had only won one of their last five at the Stadium of Light. If United weren't on such a terrible run of form, they would be huge underdogs for this semi-final.
But, the Red Devils suffered their second consecutive defeat when they were dumped out of the FA Cup by Swansea City on Sunday, with manager David Moyes coming under some serious pressure. This tournament now seems to be the only chance they have of any silverware this season. For that reason, we can expect United to field as full-strength a side as possible.
Unfortunately their full-strength at the moment isn't very strong, with striker Robin van Persie and midfielder Marouane Fellaini just a couple of the several first-teamers definitely unavailable, with Wayne Rooney also likely to join that list. By contrast Sunderland are positively salubrious, with the Black Cats only set to be without defender Carlos Cuéllar and goalkeeper Keiren Westwood.
Sunderland injuries and suspensions
Out: Carlos Cuéllar (hip), Keiren Westwood (shoulder). In doubt: None.
Manchester United injuries and suspensions
Out: Robin van Persie (thigh), Phil Jones (knee), Nani (hamstring), Marouane Fellaini (wrist), Ashley Young (shoulder), Rio Ferdinand (knee) Rafael (groin), Fabio (suspended). In doubt: Wayne Rooney (groin).
Match Date/Time: Tuesday, 7:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England
TV: bein Sport USA (U.S.), Sky Sports 1/HD (U.K.)
Online: bein Sport Play (U.S. and Canada), Sky Go (U.K.)