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Preview: Man Utd v Hull City
21 Jan 2010 - 14:21:44
Manchester United could go to the top of the Premier League table with a win over Hull City at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The Red Devils are hoping there can be a silver lining in the cloud of an early FA Cup exit as they are in league action this weekend, while main title rivals Chelsea and Arsenal take part in fourth round ties.
However, United are hardly full of confidence as they prepare to face the Tigers.
Tuesday's 2-1 Carling Cup semi-final first leg defeat to Manchester City when Sir Alex Ferguson named arguably his strongest available side only sought to highlight the problems of the Old Trafford club this season.
Up front and Wayne Rooney aside, they looked toothless compared to recent seasons, while at the back the central defensive partnership of Jonny Evans and Wes Brown is not the most solid of bases.
Nemanja Vidic is likely to return from his ankle problem but Rio Ferdinand (back) and John O'Shea (thigh) will again play no part.
Dimitar Berbatov continues to hampered by a long-running knee problem but showed his worth to United with a game changing opening goal in last weekend's 3-0 success over Burnley.
Meanwhile, Hull arrive in Manchester with their tails up following last weekend's battling point at Tottenham.
Goalkeeper Boaz Myhill was in inspirational form as he kept in the in-form north London club at bay in a goalless draw with a strong of top-class saves.
Back-to-back draws have lifted Phil Brown's side but they remain in the relegation places after winning just four games in the league all season and none away from the KC Stadium.
The 3-1 home defeat at the hands of United on December 27 when Rooney, Berbatov and an Andy Dawson own goal wrapped up three straightforward points for the champions highlighted their own shortcomings.
Hull have also never won a league game at Old Trafford with a dismal record dating all the way back to 1905.
New loan signing Amr Zaki is not likely to make the squad after arriving in Hull from Egyptian club Zamalek short of fitness. Injured midfield duo Jimmy Bullard and Ian Ashbee remain unavailable to the visitors.