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Michael Taylor 5th Dec 2008 - 17:35

Sbragia thrown in at the deep end

Sunderland caretaker boss Ricky Sbragia faces a challenge of a lifetime as he begins his temporary job against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Sbragia takes control of the Mackems following Roy Keane's midweek resignation and is sure to face a baptism of fire against the reigning Premier League champions.

"We've got to go there, get our side right and get a performance," Sbragia said, "No one gives us any hope, but you never know in football, we'll give it our best shot."

The 52-year-old certainly made one key point, nobody gives them a chance. This is reflected by the MASSIVE 18/1 about Sunderland winning that we are currently offering.

However, Sbragia can draw inspiration from Sunderland's last visit to the Theatre of Dreams under a caretaker manager when they comfortably drew 0-0 back in 2006 when Kevin Ball was in charge.

A repeat of the 2006 performance is priced at 14/1 and could be a more favourable opportunity than the 11/2 about any draw given Sunderland's recent woes in front of goal.

Sbragia's biggest fear is that his team freezes under the pressure, unfortunately for him we have to prepare for this fear to be realised and, as such, have priced United at 1/6 to win.

Punters looking to back a Red Devils win can find better value on the correct score market with 12/1 about 3-1 and 6/1 about 1-0 looking particularly interesting. Much will depend on how Sbragia gets his team defending.

In terms of goal scorers Cristiano Ronaldo (11/4 first scorer, 8/13 anytime), Dimitar Berbatov (10/3 first scorer, 4/5 anytime) and Rooney (7/2 first scorer, 10/11 anytime) all have a great chance, while 25/1 about Tevez netting a second hatrick this week could be something to watch out for.

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