Derby County host Manchester United in the FA Cup on Thursday.
It will be the third time in four years that Derby have faced the Red Devils in cup competition.
The Rams won the last encounter in the Carabao Cup last season. After a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford, the East Midland club progressed on penalties.
United will be out for revenge. And, the FA Cup is a chance of silverware. Ahead of the game, we spoke to Dan Coombs of the popular United in Focus site.
What sort of United line-up can we expect and where does the FA Cup sit in terms of priorities this season?
“Probably our biggest worry for this fixture is that the Manchester derby against City takes place on Sunday in the Premier League. This means there will be a rotated line up against Derby, and there is a risk that backfires.
“We are used to rotating our side and playing Thursday evenings with Europa League games, but this one will be a little different. I would expect we see Sergio Romero in goal, Eric Bailly, Diogo Dalot, Brandon Williams and possibly Axel Tuanzebe in defence. Odion Ighalo will probably start up front.
“The concern as it has been all season is that our midfield is not good enough to rotate players and this is where we could come unstuck. Both Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira could start and they have both been struggling, as is Dan James, who could also start.
“Winning the FA Cup would be huge for Solskjaer and he fielded a strong team throughout the League Cup even in the lower rounds, but the fixture list means there will be changes here and it would be a surprise if Bruno Fernandes starts.”
Was Wayne Rooney ever experimented in a holding midfield role (or a Paul Scholes type role) prior to leaving United and do you think he left too soon?
“I think at the time Rooney left it was very much the right move. To be honest he probably should have left a year earlier, and had an extra year at Everton, but it was important he stayed and got his record.
“Sir Alex Ferguson briefly experimented with Rooney in midfield and said he had the ability to play there, and so did Louis van Gaal, who also tried it. While I wouldn’t say it was a failure, it didn’t exactly click either or last on a consistent basis.
“Rooney has the work rate to play as a holding midfielder but I doubt he has the discipline. He chases the ball and will get dragged out of position too often. I still think you need to play him as high up the pitch as possible to get the best out of him, and I am fairly certain he will end up scoring against us somehow.”
Which Derby players do you think could cause United some problems?
“After last season, I’m glad Harry Wilson is no longer playing for you.
“Rooney obviously will be a distraction, but Tom Lawrence will be keen to make an impression against us as another former player. He looks to be in good form and he was a player I always felt we gave up on a bit too easily.
“I would also say both Chris Martin and Martyn Waghorn have the capability to make it awkward for our defence if Harry Maguire is rested.”
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