By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Javier Hernandez has been dropped from the Manchester United team for Wednesday night’s derby showdown against Manchester City, Goal.com can reveal.
The Mexican striker, who has started United’s last four Premier League games, will make way as Sir Alex Ferguson has decided to field fit-again Dimitar Berbatov as a lone striker at the home of United’s bitter rivals.
Goal.com understands that Ryan Giggs trained on Tuesday and is set to start after three weeks out with a hamstring injury. Paul Scholes and Rafael Da Silva also return to the starting XI while the United manager will make a final check this morning on Nani, who is recovering well from a groin strain and is likely to start.
If Nani is passed fit, either Ji-Sung Park or Michael Carrick is expected to miss out on one of the most eagerly anticipated derby clashes in recent years.
United’s preparations have been affected by a flu bug that has spread around the club and led to a number of players being sent home on Monday.
But Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Berbatov and Scholes, all believed to have been among the victims, have recovered in time, meaning Ferguson will nearly have a full-strength squad to choose from.
An under-strength side missing a clutch of regulars required a last-gasp winner from Park to defeat Wolves on Saturday.
The return of the big guns mean that there will be at least five changes to the team. In addition to Hernandez, Wes Brown, John O’Shea, Gabriel Obertan and Owen Hargreaves, who was ruled out yesterday with a hamstring injury following his five-minute comeback at the weekend, will also miss out.
Ferguson’s decision to leave out Hernandez is a surprise, given that his Old Trafford debut season has already yielded six goals in 13 games and he has emerged as an able deputy for Wayne Rooney.
Yet the United manager has elected for a system that has served the team well away from home in recent years against their biggest rivals and in the Champions League.