The Carling Cup holders kick off their quest to retain the trophy at struggling League One side Crewe Alexandra. Dario Gradi’s team lost their last 2 games while United are firing on all cylinders, having scored 8 goals past their last 3 opponents. On the Sunday before the tie, Liverpool was soundly beaten at Old Trafford so the Red Devils have every reason to be confident ahead of Wednesday’s game.
Sir Alex Ferguson praised his opposite number Dario Gradi on the eve of the game that could well serve as a clash between the longest serving managers of the Premiership and the Football League.
‘Dario has done a fantastic job,” he said. ‘For me it`s easier. I’ve had the motivation of being at a great club with big games every week. But Dario has had to produce and then sell young players just to make Crewe financially stable. They’ve sold players time and time again, and yet he goes in every morning and constantly has to rebuild. He enjoys that challenge of producing young players. That seems to be his main motivation. It’s an amazing job he’s done.”
Reserves players are ready to step up a level for the game, according to their coach, Brian McClair.
‘I’m happy in their football ability and we would like them to be involved in any kind of challenges,’ he said. ‘Certainly Crewe away in the Carling Cup is one to relish.
‘It’ll be a tough game. We went there two years ago and had an excellent game of football. One or two Reserves were involved in that so we’ll see what happens.’
Crewe Alexandra Team News:
Crewe have their fair share of problems as Dario Gradi must do his best without ill striker Rodney Jack, suspended Gary Roberts and injuries also took their toll: Billy Jones (hamstring), Darren Moss (hernia), Lee Matthews (knee) and Luke Rodgers (ankle) are all out of the game.
Player to watch: Luke Varney
The Crewe striker has already scored 6 goals and claimed 6 assists this season so he’s the man United defenders should pay most attention to.
Manchester United Team News:
Sir Alex Ferguson has already named eight players who will surely play in tomorrow night’s game. They are Alan Smith, Ole Solskjaer, Kieran Richardson, David and Ritchie Jones, and the fit-again defensive duo of Gabriel Heinze and Mikael Silvestre so we’ll see a relatively experienced side taking on Crewe.
Player to watch: Alan Smith
Back after 8 months out injured, the United striker is set to start his first game since last February. He played against Benfica and Celtic in the Champions League but now he has a real chance to announce that his comeback has finally been completed – to the delight of all United fans.
Match Facts & Stats
Crewe-Manchester United 0-2
Bolton (FAPL, away) – 28th October
FC Copenhagen (CL, away) – 1st November