Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Nemanja Vidic will return to the Manchester United squad for Saturday's encounter with Sunderland .

Vidic has been out since September following another bout of knee surgery and, while Ferguson has not decided whether to start with the Serbian at Old Trafford, he confirmed it was a major boost to have him back.

"Nemanja is back in the squad," said Ferguson.

"He is a top defender and our captain."

Ferguson also confirmed Shinji Kagawa would begin training with the first-team again after a two-month absence.

However, Jonny Evans has been ruled out of Saturday's game with a hamstring injury.

"I felt it would be a problem for Jonny at the start of the second half last week," said Ferguson.

Meanwhile, Ferguson insists revenge will not be a factor for his side on Saturday.

The United camp were irritated at the way Sunderland fans reacted so gleefully when Sergio Aguero scored his injury-time winner at the Etihad Stadium to earn Manchester City the title last term.

After beating Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, the Red Devils players were still on the pitch when Aguero's strike went in.

At the time, Ferguson was unhappy, whilst Wayne Rooney said in his autobiography that Sunderland was a fixture he would be looking out for more keenly than usual this term.

However, it seems that will not be part of the Scot's team talk.

"It was disappointing given the number of players we have given them down the years, but there was no malice in it and there is no element of revenge," said Ferguson.

"Winning the game is more important for us given what we achieved last week.

"Now we really need to kick on and make sure we retain our lead at the top of the league."

The hosts will be strongly fancied to beat a Black Cats outfit who have struggled so badly this term.

Only a home win over Reading on Tuesday allowed Sunderland to scramble out of the bottom three.

However, Ferguson does not believe manager Martin O'Neill deserves the stick he has been getting.

"There was a question asked of Martin last week about whether he still had self-belief that was absolutely ridiculous," said Ferguson.

"This is a guy who won three times in Scotland, reached the UEFA Cup final and League Cup final with Leicester.

"It was an insult to ask him a question like that because he is an outstanding manager."