Manchester United - West Ham Preview: Rooney set to return for FA Cup third round replay
The last time the Hammers visited Old Trafford on cup duty they were thrashed 6-0 by Sir Alex Ferguson's side in January 2003, but were cruelly denied in this tie's original game
By Josh Clarke
Jones, Ferdinand, Smalling, Buttner
Valencia, Carrick, Anderson, Nani
Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Potts
J Cole, Nolan, Taylor
Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that Wayne Rooney is set to return to the Manchester United starting line-up for the first time since injuring his knee training on Christmas Day, with Nani also set to return after a couple of months on the sidelines.
Nemanja Vidic and Ashley Young (both knee) picked up knocks in the 2-1 win against Liverpool while Jonny Evans (hamstring) is still unfit.
Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to hand opportunities to a number of fringe players, with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Anderson and Alexander Buttner all in contention.
Marouane Chamakh is ineligible for the Hammers' after not being registered for the original tie, so Carlton Cole is likely to continue up front.
Mark Noble may return from a calf problem, while Mohamed Diame has returned to fitness, but may be kept fresh for the weekend.
Joey O'Brien, James Collins (both hamstring), George McCartney and Andy Carroll (both knee) remain sidelined for the Hammers.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- The last time West Ham faced Manchester United in the FA Cup at Old Trafford, the Red Devils ran out 6-0 winners in January 2003.
- This will be the 10th time the two sides have met in this competition, with West Ham enjoying the upper hand, winning four times compared to the Red Devils' three.
- In two games against the Hammers this season, Robin van Persie has ended up on the scoresheet, with goals in the first and 90th minute.
- West Ham youth product Michael Carrick (pictured right) is in line to make his 20th FA Cup appearance for Sir Alex Ferguson's side
- Manchester United have not won the FA Cup since 2004. For the Hammers, cup glory last came in 1980.
- The winner of this tie will face either Fulham or Blackpool in the fourth round at home.
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Top 3 Predictions
Manchester United 3-1 West Ham
- 20.63 %
Manchester United 3-0 West Ham
- 14.67 %
Manchester United 2-0 West Ham
- 13 %
|Premier League (EPL)||21 Dec 2013||Manchester United 3 - West Ham 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||17 Apr 2013||West Ham 2 - Manchester United 2|
|FA Cup (FA)||16 Jan 2013||Manchester United 1 - West Ham 0|
|FA Cup (FA)||5 Jan 2013||West Ham 2 - Manchester United 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||28 Nov 2012||Manchester United 1 - West Ham 0|
|8 Mar 2014||West Bromwich Albion 0 - Manchester United 3||EPL|
|25 Feb 2014||Olympiakos 2 - Manchester United 0||UCL|
|22 Feb 2014||Crystal Palace 0 - Manchester United 2||EPL|
|12 Feb 2014||Arsenal FC 0 - Manchester United 0||EPL|
|9 Feb 2014||Manchester United 2 - Fulham 2||EPL|
|20||Robin van Persie||Striker|
|12||Ricardo Vaz Te||Striker|
|43||Sebastian Francisco Lletget||Midfielder|
With the exploits of Robin van Persie well documented and Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez recently enjoying effective runs in the first team, it's easy to forget that Manchester United also have Wayne Rooney in tow. The striker was the victim of a knee injury during training on Christmas Day but was showing signs of a promising partnership developing with Van Persie prior to his spell on the sidelines. A rested Rooney may be key to United's hopes of competing on three fronts in the second half of the season.
Replacing James Collins at the heart of the Hammers defence will be difficult enough for the 23-year old, especially when the injured centre-half's double against Manchester United in the previous tie is taken into account. With the home side looking particularly impressive at Old Trafford, Tomkins will quickly need to forge an understanding with Winston Reid, particularly after shipping three to the usually goal-shy Sunderland at the weekend.
Even with the number of changes Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to make to his side, it's difficult to see West Ham troubling the hosts too much on their own turf. United have been in imperial form of late while the Hammers have been patchy at best, despite their heroics in the original tie.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed