Anton Ferdinand is back in training with the Black Cats after a hamstring injury and could be ready to face his older brother Rio, if selected, at the Stadium of Light.
John Mensah (also hamstring) was due to train today, but the game is likely to come too soon for him, while Kieran Richardson will miss out with a similar problem.
Steve Bruce faces perhaps his most difficult decision with his goalkeepers as the fit-again Craig Gordon attempts to displace Belgian Simon Mignolet.
Fraizer Campbell and David Meyler (both knee) remain long-term absentees.
Wayne Rooney has declared himself fit to start for Manchester United but Sir Alex Ferguson will rest the striker.
The fitness of Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Anderson will be assessed before Ferguson finalises the line-up that will look to register United's first Premier League away win of the season.
Sunderland (from): Mignolet, Gordon, Onuoha, Bardsley, Angeleri, Bramble, Turner, Ferdinand, Da Silva, Cattermole, Riveros, Henderson, Malbranque, Elmohamady, Zenden, Colback, Reid, Bent, Gyan, Welbeck.
Manchester United (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Amos, Rafael, Neville, O'Shea, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Smalling, Evra, Nani, Fletcher, Anderson, Carrick, Gibson, Park, Bebe, Berbatov, Owen, Hernandez, Macheda.