Man Utd V Fulham at Old Trafford : Match Preview
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United duo remain sidelined
Ashley Young and Jonny Evans will remain on the sidelines for Manchester United's FA Cup fourth-round tie with Fulham at Old Trafford.
England winger Young suffered a knee injury against Liverpool a fortnight ago, whilst Evans (hamstring) has not featured since the FA Cup draw at West Ham three weeks ago.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson must decide whether to stick with David de Gea in goal or recall Anders Lindegaard, who took over for the replay win against the Hammers.
Ferguson is adamant Dimitar Berbatov should not be regarded as a #30million failure at Manchester United.
Berbatov will return to Old Trafford on Saturday for the first time since his four-year United stay came to an end with a summer switch to Fulham.
Debate still rages amongst the Red Devils faithful about the Bulgarian's merits. In the end, even Ferguson concedes Berbatov was eased out because Javier Hernandez made more of an impact. But he refuses to accept the 31-year-old was a waste of time.
"I don't think Dimitar was a failure here," said Ferguson.
"Some people like to see players run through brick walls all the time. Dimitar is not that type of player, but he is very talented player and he had a decent goalscoring record here."
The argument goes that Berbatov is better at a club like Fulham, where Martin Jol can construct a team around him, than United, where he was just one of a number of superstars. Ferguson does not accept the verdict.
"That was not a problem for him," said Ferguson. "The problem for him here was the way we wanted to play and the selections I had to make. When you have choices you hope to make the right one. Javier Hernandez had a fantastic first season with us and as time went on he became a more regular player than Dimitar."
Fulham midfielder Kieran Richardson will miss the chance to take on his former club.
The 28-year-old suffered a calf injury in last weekend's defeat at Manchester City and will not be fit in time for the game at Old Trafford, although he is likely to return to training next week.
Mahamadou Diarra (knee) is not likely to play again for a month whilst Kerim Frei (pelvis) is also absent.
Fulham have prioritised Barclays Premier League survival over FA Cup progression but do not have the squad to rotate between competitions, manager Martin Jol has conceded.
Jol's side have slipped to within six points of the Premier League relegation zone having won just two league fixtures since the start of November.
"The league is the priority but we can't play different teams," Jol said.
"You won't see the priorities in my decision making on the teams because we still play the same team - there is not a lot of difference."
Saturday's opponents United are currently five points clear at the top of the table but it remains to be seen how seriously Sir Alex Ferguson's hunt for a first FA Cup success since 2004 is taken.
Jol believes any side, no matter their stature within the game, will target FA Cup success but admits he does not know where the competition will rank alongside United's quest for success in both the Premier League and Champions League.
"When you see the starting line-up against us on Saturday we will see what their thinking is," he said.
"I think the FA Cup is important to any club and that it is important to them as well so I can't see them doing strange things.
"Maybe they'll play a different team but, if you look at their players, their squad, you won't see the difference anyway."
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