But the Black Cats have got a huge class gap to overcome, carry little threat and, if reports of their defensive injury
crisis are even half true, Martin O'Neill will have all 10 outfielders digging fox holes on Kieren Westwood's 18-yard line.
Summary: Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United can handle a defensive injury
crisis despite the fact Rio Ferdinand could be out for the season.
Ferguson, who is struggling with a defensive injury
crisis at United, said: "I always wanted to get Paolo here but it was impossible.
MANCHESTER United tackle Wigan at Old Trafford tonight with Sir Alex Ferguson admitting he would have gladly accepted being two points adrift of Chelsea in the depth of his defensive injury
With Ferguson's defensive injury
problems starting to ease, the United boss is now looking to build some momentum heading into the second half of a campaign which could yet end with his side being crowned champions for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Barclays Premier League season.
4 SIR Alex Ferguson joked that he had to play the "smallest centrehalf in the world" after his Manchester United shrugged aside a defensive injury
crisis to beat West Ham.
Micky Adams is hoping to sort out Coventry City's exacerbated defensive injury
worries in time for Monday night's televised home date with Colchester United.
Sheffield United midfielder Phil Jagielka will again start at centre-back due to ongoing defensive injury
BELGIUM have a defensive injury
crisis for their Group H showdown with Tunisia tomorrow.
The NFL has seen some major blowout games in primetime slots this season and with Dallas firing on all cylinders and two-win Washington having quarterback issues and defensive injury
problems, the potential is there for a one-sided affair.
DUNDEE UNITED boss Jackie McNamara believes his squad can cope with a defensive injury
crisis ahead of their trip to face League Cup winners Aberdeen on Sunday.
CELTIC'S defensive injury
crisis ahead of their Champions League qualifier against Cliftonville at Solitude tonight has led to an early recall to action for Efe Ambrose.