Rooney: Carroll can be a handful
Wayne Rooney has urged Manchester United to pay special attention to Andy Carroll on Wednesday night.
Carroll is bound to get a frosty reception from the Old Trafford faithful when West Ham travel north. As a Liverpool player with an enormous price tag, it is hard to imagine the United fans will not single him out.
However, after working alongside the 23-year-old at close quarters during Euro 2012, Rooney knows the reality of Carroll's performances is nowhere near the perception many have of him.
The burly forward will travel north with confidence high following his first goal of the season at Tottenham on Sunday. And Rooney has warned his United team-mates to be on their guard.
"Andy Carroll is a handful," said the striker. "I am sure if you ask any defender, they find it difficult to play against someone like that who is good in the air and on the floor.
"He is physical and makes it hard for opponents. That type of player doesn't always get all the goals but they can cause trouble up front and create problems.
"I am sure that is what Sam Allardyce wants him to do."
Paul Scholes will miss the match. The veteran midfielder is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season at the weekend and his place goes to Anderson, who impressed as a second-half substitute against QPR.
Antonio Valencia (hip) has an outside chance of being fit for the leaders.
Allardyce thinks the Red Devils are not the impenetrable defensive unit they once were.
Although Sir Alex Ferguson's team have seamlessly climbed above Manchester City and Chelsea to reach the summit in recent weeks, the Scot has regularly bemoaned the standard of his team's defending this season.
United have conceded just short of 29 goals per season over the last five years, but they have already conceded 19 this term after just 13 matches thanks to a mixture of injuries to key players and sloppy errors by those who have featured.
Allardyce, whose side lost 3-1 at Spurs on Sunday, admits West Ham will face a big task if they are to win, but he takes comfort from the fact that the days of regular shut-outs at Old Trafford are now rare.
"Manchester United have leaked a few more goals than normal," Allardyce said.
"Their defensive qualities haven't been as good as they have been over the past few years.
"The problem is at the other end they never stop scoring goals, but if we can get our defensive unit on song and if we play as a team in and out of possession then you never know what will happen."
Midfielder Mark Noble is suspended after accumulating five yellow cards.
Left-back George McCartney is a doubt after suffering an ankle injury against Tottenham and midfielder Yossi Benayoun is still not available as he looks to overcome a thigh problem.
Midfielder Jack Collison (knee) and forward Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) are also ruled out.