United remember black night at Southend
Roots Hall November 2006 is a black date for United on their recent League Cup record. Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, John O'Shea, Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher were among the notable names humiliated in Essex. Southend embarrassed the star-studded Reds with a 1-0 success. It is bound to be a bleak memory that will be at the back of the Carling Cup holder's minds at Scunthorpe's Glanford Park tonight. Despite Sir Alex Ferguson's side getting the bit between their teeth in the competition and winning in twice on the trot at Wembley since the grim day at Southend and the 2-0 Old Trafford defeat by Coventry 12 months later, Scunthorpe are preparing for the Reds to revisit the misery of four years ago. These aren't the sort of salubrious surroundings they are used to, says Scunthorpe's caretaker boss Ian Baraclough. One or two of them might think coming here is a stroll in the park. If so, great, we have players to capitalise on that. They will take us lightly at their peril. "We have had big teams here in the last year. We turned Newcastle over 2-1 and they are now in the same division as United. We have had other big teams here, too, who could not cope with our work-rate." Fergie's number two ran the rule over United's opponents when the championship side visited Swansea's Liberty Stadium last Saturday. That was paying us a great complement, Baraclough added. They know they have to do everything right to make sure there is not a shock. They know if they play to their ability then nine times out of 10 they will beat us. But they know, too, that if we perform to our capability and take our chances then we can upset them. "I know we will be the underdogs and I quite like that tag. But there is absolutely no pressure on us. It is a great opportunity for my players to test themselves for where they are in their careers. They are in the shop window. They know if they come to Scunthorpe and do well they will get the chance to move on and further their careers. Michael Owen will start for the Reds and Scunthorpe defender David Mirfin, nicknamed the Ox because of his formidable presence, is relishing facing the former England World Cup striker. It's definitely exciting because he has obviously been one of England's best strikers in the last 10 or 15 years" the Iron defender says. "I think he'll probably be frustrated that he is not playing much any more but everyone knows what a good player he is so it will be a good test for me. What is your prediction for the game? Have your say.
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