David Moyes turns to Victor Anichebe to rescue Sunderland from relegation
Manager David Moyes is hoping forgotten man Victor Anichebe can rescue Sunderland's season with relegation staring them in the face.
The Black Cats entertain Manchester United on Sunday lying 10 points adrift of safety with just eight games remaining and having won only one of their last 13.
Perhaps more worrying is the fact they have not scored a single goal in 15 minutes shy of 10 hours of league football, since Jermain Defoe collected his 14th of the season at Crystal Palace on February 4.
Free signing Anichebe returned from a knee injury which had sidelined him since January as a substitute at Leicester in midweek, and Moyes hopes the muscular striker can rediscover the form which made him an instant favourite on Wearside just when his club needs it most.
The Scot said: "We have missed Victor because, if you look, we have not scored enough goals this season.
"We have had as our attacking players Fabio Borini, Adnan Januzaj, Wahbi Khazri, Jermain Defoe and the other was Victor Anichebe, who gave us a completely different type of centre-forward from all the others.
"He was the only one we had different, so if he got injured then we were going to be in trouble. He never got started this season, but when he did come in he made a big impact for us.
"We're in a position where we're having to take as many risks as we can. Do I think he's ready to play 90 minutes? No. Do I think he could play part of the game? Yes, I think he could."
Michael Carrick knows first hand what a buzz football can bring to the north east, but Manchester United will be out to heap more misery on Sunderland fans at the Stadium of Light.
The 35-year-old was born in Wallsend before starting his career at West Ham.
Sunderland are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League and north-east neighbours Middlesbrough are also battling to stay up, while Newcastle look set to secure a swift return to the top flight.
Carrick said in an interview with MUTV: "It is such a football-orientated place that if a team, for example Newcastle, are doing well then the whole place is buzzing and when they're not, there is that down feeling around the place. It really does dictate the feeling in the north east.
"The passion for football is what stands out, it's incredible up there.
"Personally, I would like to see the teams back up again and the place bouncing again and there's a really positive atmosphere because it's a great place when the teams are doing well."
United are battling for points at the other end of the table as they aim to secure a top-four finish.
There is no love lost between the rival sets of fans, with some sections of the Sunderland support having taken great delight in United missing out on the title on the final day of the 2011/2012 campaign.
Carrick, though, believes there will be no sense of looking to settle any old scores.
"In some ways it can (spur players on) but, at the same time, it's a totally different game," he said.
"On Sunday, it's two different teams, two different managers and a different situation completely."