Donald Love feels he has nothing to prove on his return to Old Trafford - and the defender admits he would “love” to beat Manchester United.
Sunderland signed the right-back and fellow academy graduate Paddy McNair from United in the summer for a combined £5.5million fee.
Everyone is starting to see an improvement in our performances and resultsDONALD LOVE
Versatile Love, who made his senior debut for Manchester United last season against Sunderland, featured in both the Premier League and UEFA Europa League.
But given the strength in depth at Old Trafford, Love knew it was time to move on in the summer in search of regular first team football after just two appearances.
After being recalled to the Sunderland side in place of the injured Billy Jones, Love is relishing his Boxing Day return and insists he has nothing to prove.
“No, not really. I don’t feel that way,” said the right-back, who had a loan spell at Wigan Athletic last season.
“I came to Sunderland to play football, obviously it is really hard at United to get into the first team.
“I would love to beat them, though, it is one of them!
“It will be a really hard game but we want to give 100 per cent for the fans.
“Hopefully we will win but either way we will give it our all and hopefully the fans won’t be disappointed with our performance.
“We will target their weak areas and look to get at them.
“It is going to be a hard game but whatever team the manager picks will go out there and give 100 per cent for Sunderland.”
Facing an in-form Manchester United side packed with talent including Zlatan Ibrahimović and Paul Pogba would be a daunting prospect for most sides.
Love says Sunderland won’t be fazed by the occassion or the surroundings.
“We won’t be like that. This team has been through a lot already this season with the injuries and everything,” he added.
“We have stuck together throughout. Everyone is starting to see an improvement in our performances and results.”
Love limped off in the latter stages of the 1-0 win over Watford with cramp but will keep his place at Old Trafford should Jones fail to shake off a hip injury.
The defender, who turned 22 earlier in December, says Sunderland dealt well with the pressure of a ‘must-win’ game against Watford ahead of his Boxing Day trip back home.
“We have a tight-knit group and everyone was confident going into it that we could get the three points against Watford,” added Rochdale-born Love.
“We were all disappointed with the Swansea result, if we had got something there then we could have been out of the relegation zone already.
“We got the win against Watford and closed the gap to safety, we are looking good and looking to move up the table.
“It is Premier League football, you feel a bit of pressure before every game. At Manchester United there will be pressure.
“We dealt with it well against Watford, got the goal and got the win,” added the Scotland Under-21 international, who can play at full-back or in midfield.