Date:Wednesday February 1 2006
Blackburn Rovers head into tonight’s game with Manchester United full of confidence that they can achieve a league double over their rivals for the first time in 75 years.
The talk coming out of Ewood today is that the game represents just another three points in pursuit of European football. However you get the sense underneath in it means a little more.
First of all Rovers will be itching for revenge after United knocked them out of the league cup in controversial circumstances. In the first leg at Ewood Manchester’s Alan Smith ignited tempers on both sides with a two footed lunge on Robbie Savage and then in the second leg Savage was involved in bust up with Gary Neville. Manchester went on to win the tie 3-2 on aggregate and while the managers will be calling for calm before the game nobody is likely to be pulling out of challenges in the midfield battle. And it is that battle where Rovers could find the key to victory. Sir Alex Ferguson is again short in the centre of the park and is likely to play Rio Ferdinand out of position alongside Darren Fletcher. He can however recall Cristaino Ronaldo to the starting line-up but Alan Smith will be spared a reunion with Savage due to suspension.
Rovers only worry is up front as both Craig Bellamy and Paul Dickov are still out. Shefki Kuqi will be partnered with David Bentley who signed a permanent deal yesterday. However, Florent Sinama-Pongolle will not feature as his transfer did not register in time for him to be available for selection.
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