Manchester United – West Ham Preview: Rooney set to return for FA Cup third round replay

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.

  • 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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