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Tuesday Night 8pm Kick Off and United entertain visitors from just over the "hills" from Sheffield.

United have defensive problems with Van der Saar looking somewhat shakey lately, Rio, Neville, Vidic injured. Could be a recall for Silvestre alongside Brown as Fergie is unlikely to play up and coming hopeful Cathcart as he is due to make his name playing in the FA Cup Final shortly.

Rumours abound that Rio could be fit for this game but will Fergie risk him? Another knock could take him out for the season!

Midfield we have no real problems and up front Rooney & Smith could continue their partnership which has seen United scoring 11 goals in their last two fixtures.
 

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Match Preview


Old Trafford
Tuesday, 17 April
Kick-off: 2000 BST

Rio Ferdinand may feature for Manchester United after initial examinations showed his groin injury is not a long-term problem.

But a Saturday return for him and John O'Shea (calf) are more likely, so Darren Fletcher may be at right-back, while Craig Cathcart, 18, eyes a debut.

Sheffield United centre-back Claude Davis is almost certainly out with an ankle injury sustained at the weekend.

Striker Jon Stead also has a knock and may not figure.

Man Utd (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, O'Shea, Fletcher, Cathcart, Ferdinand, Brown, Heinze, Evra, Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Richardson, Rooney, Smith, Solskjaer, Dong.

Sheffield United (from): Kenny, Bromby, Davis, Morgan, Jagielka, Shelton, Stead, Hulse, Webber, A Quinn, Kozluk, Kilgallon, Montgomery, Tonge, Gillespie, Armstrong, Leigertwood, Lucketti, Fathi, Geary, Nade, S Quinn, Kazim-Richards, Bennett.

Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs:

"Winning helps the tiredness part.

"We are not doing much training, just ticking over. As long as we get enough rest we should be OK.

"In any case, you want to be part of big games and in three competitions at this stage of the season.

"We have not managed that in the last couple of years, so it is great to be in this position."

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Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock:
"So we have to be more disciplined than we have been against the big teams to give ourselves a fighting chance of a result.

"I'm asking them not to make elementary mistakes. We have to erase those blemishes and make them work hard.

"We want to give our fans something to hang their hat on."

BIG-MATCH FACTS


MANCHESTER UNITED against Sheffield United is a midweek match-up between two sides desperate for points for different reasons. The Red Devils are eager to open up a six-point gap over Chelsea at the top once again, ahead of the Blues' visit to West Ham 24 hours later. Sir Alex Ferguson's side are aiming for a 10th consecutive home League win, while the Blades are anxious to increase the margin between themselves and Charlton at third bottom to five points.

Prior to qualifying for the Champions League semi-final and a meeting with Chelsea in the FA Cup final, Manchester United lost their last League game 2-1 at Portsmouth. They have not suffered back-to-back defeats in 75 Premiership matches, since Norwich and Everton defeated them, both away, on 9 and 20 April 2005 respectively.

United have won their last five in League and Cup against Sheffield United, home and away, and the last five League clashes at Old Trafford. They're vying to complete a second 'double' over the Blades in this League, having won 1-2 at Bramall Lane in November. A goal in each half from Wayne Rooney secured the points after Keith Gillespie had netted his first ever goal for the Yorkshire club on his 44th appearance. Manchester United have already 'doubled' Wigan, Aston Villa, Watford, Tottenham, Charlton, Fulham, Liverpool, Bolton and Blackburn this season, while Reading and Chelsea have already beaten the Blades home and away.

SHEFFIELD UNITED climbed out of the bottom three, when they cruised to their biggest win of the season on Saturday. The 3-0 victory over West Ham enhanced their survival bid and landed the Hammers in more trouble. Before another equally significant six-pointer at Charlton on Saturday, the Blades face this excursion to the Theatre of Dreams. It would be a major turn up for the book if Neil Warnock's side completed their first back-to-back victories in 17 Premiership outings since beating Watford (a) and Charlton (h) on 28 November and 2 December respectively. Three points from this game in hand would, however, lift them above Fulham and Wigan.

The south Yorkshire side have conceded four times as many goals as they've scored in top flight matches on the road this season. They've only managed to net seven times - no club has a lower total on their top tier travels - while they've shipped 28. Their three away victories have all been by 1-0 scorelines, against Newcastle, Watford and Wigan.

The Blades have not secured a point against the Red Devils since the 2-1 victory over them at Bramall Lane on the opening day of the Premiership era, when Brian Deane famously scored the first goal in the new League. They also knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup later that season. It was Boxing Day 1973 when they last took maximum points away from Old Trafford with a 1-2 success. Tony Currie and Alan Woodward scored their goals.

REFEREE

Rob Styles (Waterlooville, Hampshire)
 

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Player Stats & Possibilities:

Cristiano RONALDO is United's top scorer with 21 goals. Of those 16 are in the Premiership, which leaves the Portugal World Cup star two behind Chelsea's Didier Drogba at the head of the race for the Barclays Golden Boot.

RONALDO needs a double to total 50 goals for the Red Devils.

Paul SCHOLES is one goal short of holding the record outright as Manchester United's highest scorer of Premier League goals. He has netted 95 and equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy's total. Ryan GIGGS has scored 93 times in the Premiership.

Ryan GIGGS is a double short of 100 League goals.

If he plays, GIGGS will be making his 500th League appearance for United.

If selected in the 11, Gary NEVILLE will be making his 350th Premiership start - all for the Red Devils.

If involved, Louis SAHA will be making his 100th appearance for the Old Trafford club.
 
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