Scunthorpe v United: Carling Cup preview
Sir Alex Ferguson is convinced his youngsters will benefit from the Carling Cup exposure at Scunthorpe - even if Manchester United end up on the wrong end of a shock. United head to Glanford Park as Carling Cup holders, having disposed of Aston Villa at Wembley last season. As they also defeated Tottenham in the showpiece 12 months earlier, it is clearly a piece of silverware Ferguson has begun to like, despite his tendency to use the competition to give the younger members of his squad a chance to shine. Against the glory can be balanced unexpected defeats to Coventry and Southend. Yet even on those dismal days, Ferguson found reasons to be positive. "The Carling Cup has served us well over the last few seasons," Ferguson told www.manutd.com. "It allows me to keep everybody happy in terms of giving them games and reaching the last two finals has obvious advantages. "But, in retrospect, going out in the early rounds - like we did against Coventry and Southend - are good experiences, too, even if we would always prefer to win." There will be some experience in United's line-up this evening, notably Michael Owen, who is expected to make his first start of the season. Rio Ferdinand's lack of recent match practice hints at an involvement as well if he has shaken off the virus that forced him to miss Sunday's win over Liverpool. However, most interest will surround new arrival Bebe, who is pencilled in for some involvement after missing the reserve-team encounter at Bury on Tuesday night. The 20-year-old arrived at Old Trafford via an unconventional route, with eyebrows raised at how a player who arrived at Vitoria Guimaraes on a free transfer after Portuguese third-tier outfit Estrela da Amadora failed to pay his wages, should suddenly be worth in excess of £7million even though he never played a competitive game. In addition, Ferguson claimed the wide man's fitness levels were not high enough on his arrival at Old Trafford, having admitted he took a punt on Bebe without actually seeing him play. Meanwhile, Micahel Raynes (pictured) will get the chance to fulfil a boyhood dream when Scunthorpe take on United. Wythenshawe lad Raynes a self-confessed massive' Red was overlooked by United when he signed for Stockport County as a 12-year-old before going on to make more than 150 appearances for the Edgeley Park club. The Wythenshawe lad swapped Stockport for Scunthorpe in January in a deadline day deal, and despite divided loyalties in the Raynes household, the 22-year-old is relishing the prospect of lining up against his childhood team. I'm a massive United fan and all my family are so it will be a nice day out for the Raynes family whatever the score, he said. "They're all coming to the game and they're looking forward to it. The phone hasn't stopped ringing with people asking for tickets. I wouldn't say it is the biggest game of my career but it is definitely going to be one of the most memorable, he added. It'll be the first time I'll have played against United so I just hope I get the chance to do it. I heard on the news that Michael Owen is starting and I'm looking forward to coming up against him. I watched him a lot when I was growing up and he's still an absolute legend so to get the chance to play against him would be brilliant. Manchester United (from): Kuszczak, Amos, Neville, Rafael, Fabio, O'Shea, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Smalling, Evra, Anderson, Fletcher, Park, Gibson, Nani, Hernandez, Owen, Macheda, Bebe Scunthorpe United (from): Murphy, Slocombe Byrne, Mirfin, Nolan, Canavan; Togwell, O'Connor, Wright, Collins; Dagnall, Forte, McNulty, Jones, Woolford, Raynes, Grant, Boyes, Milne, Coleman, Godden, Canavan, McClenahan Key opponent: Chris Dagnall Former Rochdale striker has scored two goals in the Carling Cup and two in the championship making him Scunthorpe's top scorer Prediction: Scunthorpe 0 United 1 - it won't be easy but Reds should have enough Agree with the prediction? Have your say. Click here for all the latest odds from Betfred.
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