Hangeland and Hughes will stop Rooney, predicts confident Konchesky

13 March 2010 11:39
Paul Konchesky is confident that Fulham's defence will be strong enough to shackle Wayne Rooney when they come up against the in-form Manchester United striker tomorrow.  

Rooney scored twice in United's 4-0 hammering of Italian giants AC Milan on Wednesday to take his tally to 30 for the season.  

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admits the 24-year-old is in the form of his life and has challenged him to beat Cristiano Ronaldo's record of scoring 42 goals in the 2007-08 season.  

Phenomenal: Wayne Rooney slots home his 30th goal of the season

The Red Devils lost 3-0 at Craven Cottage in December and Konchesky thinks Fulham can shut out Rooney and co again and even come away from Old Trafford with a result.  

'We have Brede (Hangeland) and Aaron (Hughes) in defence. They are strong, quick, good in the air and read the game well, so they have great ability to stop him (Rooney),' said Konchesky.  

'We've beaten United at home already, and we've always got a chance.'

Lynchpin: Fulham centre back Brede Hangeland (right) in action

Konchesky made his comeback from a two-month lay-off with an ankle injury on Thursday against Juventus. That match ended in a 3-1 defeat for Roy Hodgson's men, which left Fulham's hopes of making the quarter-finals of the Europa League hanging by a thread. 

Clint Dempsey also returned in that match following two months out with a knee injury. It had been feared that Dempsey's season was over when he limped off against Blackburn in January, so Hodgson was naturally delighted that both he and Konchesky returned on Thursday. 

'It was good to see those two back, that was excellent news,' said the former Inter Milan boss. 'Both of them have been out for a long period of time and it was good for Konchesky to get a game under his belt and for Dempsey to get half an hour under his belt.  

Rock: Cottagers' defender Aaron Hughes (left) challenges Peter Crouch

'I think they will be very useful for us in the games that we have left this season, of which there are very many.'

Hodgson will have to decide whether to stick with Konchesky at left-back for the United game or to turn to Nicky Shorey, who was cup-tied for the Juve match.  

Captain Danny Murphy, who was suspended for Thursday's defeat, faces a fitness test on a groin injury while long-term absentees Andy Johnson and John Pantsil (both knee), remain sidelined. 

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Source: Daily_Mail