Manchester United face up against West Ham in an all Premier League FA Cup third round clash tomorrow evening at Upton Park. Given the fact he has never lost an FA Cup third round tie to Premier League opposition, history suggests that United will be favourites for the victory.
Speaking at the pre match press conference this morning ahead of Saturday’s match against West Ham, Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed the latest team news.
Sir Alex on latest team news and injuries…
“Wayne Rooney is still injured. I’m surprised, it’s been longer than we thought it would be. He was meant to be back training but he’s not. It’s nothing serious but it looks like he’s going to be out for another two weeks or so. Nani is expected to start training today, and Phil Jones is available against West Ham. Everyone else is OK I think. Rooney won’t be fit for Liverpool. I don’t think so. It’s nothing serious, he just got clipped behind his knee. Nothing shows in the scan but he’s still feeling it. Hopefully in two weeks it’ll be sorted but nonetheless it’s a loss.”
It looks like we will be without Rooney for at least another two weeks including Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford. On paper, it is a massive blow but considering how we coped in his absence at Anfield earlier this season, it isn’t the end of the world.
As for Nani returning to training, we really need him to fully fit and finding form again. We have struggled in his absence on the wings with his unpredictability missing from our static width. Valencia has cowered into the #7 shirt this season and Young’s impressive run of performances is the only positive from our wingers.
I hope that Jones’ season won’t be marred by a run of niggling injuries after he was laid off for a long period at the start of the season. He is a much better alternative at right back than Smalling is and we need to make sure Rafael doesn’t suffer burn out, so Jones’ return is very welcome.
Sir Alex on West Ham in the Cup…
“We’ve had some really difficult ties over last three or four years. You hope first of all you’re going to be at home in the draw, then you want a draw you can get through. But this is a particularly hard one, they’re in good form and they’re at home. Sam [Allardyce] has done great job there getting them promoted first of all. It’s not easy to bounce right back but they’ve done well and their form has been very good. They’ve had some excellent results. So it’s going to be a tough game. I don’t think we’ll make too many changes. I think we’ll more or less play a strong team and hopefully we’ll get through.”
Two years ago, we got hammered 4-0 at Upton Park in the Carling Cup quarter-final. Ferguson will certainly be wanting revenge. West Ham’s physical approach is sure to cause us a few problems though with their tendencies to throw balls into the air likely to give them quite a bit of success. Whoever is in goal on Saturday will need to be on his toes because he is likely to be busy.