Sunday’s 13:30 BST kick-off also marks the return to M16 of Mark Hughes, who will take on Sir Alex with his fourth top-flight side having replaced Neil Warnock at QPR earlier this season.
Charged with avoiding relegation, ‘Sparky’ has since made steady if not slow progress, picking up just 11 points from a possible 33. But as Derry admits, the fixture list has not been kind and his team-mates and manager are more than up for the fight.
“We’re all fully aware of what his [Hughes'] history is. When somebody walks through the door with his background you have to take notice. His way of working is completely different to that of Neil [Warnock], they’re completely different managers.
“It’s been difficult for the gaffer since he’s come in and results haven’t gone the way he would’ve wanted. We all know that we’ve got some tough weeks ahead but we can get out of this. He’s very methodical in his approach to training sessions and matches, and no stone is left unturned.”