Carling Cup final preview

27 February 2009 11:57
Tottenham will be looking to put an end to Manchester United's hopes of a quintuple when the two sides meet in the Carling Cup final on Sunday.

Holders Spurs will not want to give up their crown without a fight and will fancy their chances after United boss Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that he would be sticking with his youngsters who have got him this far.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp has seemingly traded Uefa Cup glory for a win on Sunday after he rested all of his big guns for the last-32 tie against Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday.

If the gamble fails to pay off and United succeed in the first part of their record-breaking conquest Redknapp can expect a backlash from the Spurs supporters.

United team newsFirst choice goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has not featured in the competition this season so Ferguson must decide between Ben Foster and Tomasz Kuszczak.

The pair have made two Carling Cup appearances each this season but the Englishman could get the nod after Kuszczak's erratic display against Blackburn last weekend.

Defender Jonny Evans is rated as 50/50 after he needed pain killing injections to get through Tuesday's draw with Inter.

The Northern Ireland international has been suffering with an ankle injury that dates back to his time on loan at Sunderland at the end of last season.

If the 21-year-old does not make it Ferguson will look to start regular centre-back pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

Fellow defender Gary Neville has returned to training during the past week and he could be involved but Wes Brown (metatarsal) is out.

Midfielder Anderson could make a return to first-team action after picking up an ankle injury in the semi-final second-leg win over Derby in January.

The Brazilian played 45 minutes of United's reserve team clash with Manchester City on Thursday and will compete with Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Darren Gibson for a midfield berth.

Fellow Brazilian Fabio played in the same match and was also withdrawn early in the second half, hinting that he could replace twin brother Rafael who has been ruled out for a month with an ankle injury.

Carlos Tevez should start up front after playing in all of the club's games in the competition this season with either Wayne Rooney or Danny Wellbeck partnering him.

Spurs team newsHuerelho Gomes will start in goal with fellow stopper Carlo Cudicini ineligible.

Redknapp rested Jonathan Woodgate, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Vedran Corluka, Ledley King, Jermaine Jenas, Luka Modric, Darren Bent, Aaron Lennon and Roman Pavlyuchenko for the Shakhtar match and all can expect to be involved on Sunday.

Skipper King featured in Monday's win at Hull and despite not being able to play two games a week is expected to start for the final.

If the 28-year-old fails to recover in time Michael Dawson should step in after he too was rested for Thursday's draw.

The former Portsmouth manager is expected to field a five -midfield so either Bent or Pavlyuchenko will miss out.

With the Russian scoring in every round so far he is favourite to play as the lone striker with Bent settling for a place on the bench.

Redknapp will also wait to assess midfielder Jamie O'Hara's hip injury before deciding on his final eleven.

Strikers Robbie Keane (ineligible) and Jermaine Defoe (foot) are out as are Pascal Chimbonda and Wilson Palacios who are both ineligible.

Possible starting XIs:

Man Utd: Foster, Fabio, Ferdinand, Vidic, O'Shea, Giggs, Gibson, Scholes, Ronaldo, Wellbeck, Tevez.

Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, King, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto, Bentley, Zokora, Jenas, Lennon, Modric, Pavlyuchenko.

Source: SKY_Sports