Pardew wary of confident Van Persie Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is preparing himself for a high-octane shoot-out as Manchester United roll into town intent on revenge. The two sides last faced each other on Tyneside on January 4 when Sir Alex Ferguson's men left on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline having been comprehensively beaten. They have gone some of the way towards making amends since with a 2-1 Capital One Cup victory over Pardew's team at Old Trafford last month, but they will head to the north-east determined to return with three points. Both sides have defensive injury problems, and that - coupled with the riches the two managers have at their disposal in attack - suggests it could be an entertaining encounter. The Magpies' Demba Ba already has six goals to his name this season, while United's flying Dutchman Robin van Persie has seven, and Pardew sees similarities between the two. He said: "Van Persie's confidence levels set him apart at the moment. He is one of those players who actually believes he's the best, and that's dangerous. "Usually even when things are not going well and they are missing chances, they still think they are going to score. "Demba is a little bit like that - he has that kind of attitude. There will be great strikers on view on Sunday, for sure. "There will be so much ability on the pitch, you can't help but think there are going to be some great moments in the game - hopefully more for us than them." Pardew will once again be without first-choice goalkeeper Tim Krul - indeed, he will have 19-year-old Jak Alnwick on the bench with Rob Elliot having picked up a groin injury against Bordeaux on Thursday evening - and central defenders Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor. But Ferguson too will have key absentees at the back with Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones - who scored an own goal in last season's game - still out. Pardew said: "Both me and Alex will be sweating defensively. Our two centre-halves tomorrow have played almost every game - (James) Perch and (Mike) Williamson - and their two centre-halves could well be (Michael) Carrick and (Rio) Ferdinand, so it's not ideal. "You want to have fresh players for games like this, but they are not and that favours the strikers for Sunday."
However, while the Newcastle manager may not have fresh central defenders, he was able to rest Davide Santon, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Ba for Thursday's 3-0 Europa League victory over Bordeaux. Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is "quite happy" with Robin van Persie despite claims from the player he must do more. Van Persie took his goal tally since joining the club to seven in as many games with a double in the midweek Champions League win at Cluj but then said he needed to contribute more assists. But Ferguson said: "I think he is a good passer of the ball and has good vision in his passing too. "I think the goal he made last week for (Shinji) Kagawa against Tottenham is evidence of his passing ability. I am quite happy with what he is doing now. "The refreshing thing for me is, he has actually not had any pre-season games, which is quite remarkable, having seven goals from seven games. "I am quite pleased about that and I think his fitness will improve even more." Van Persie scored 37 goals and was named player of the year in his final season at Arsenal before moving to Old Trafford in a #24million deal in the summer. The Dutchman has settled quickly at his new club and Ferguson would be delighted if he could emulate what he did last term. United have strong attacking options with Van Persie, fit-again Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez - all three of whom started in Cluj - and Danny Welbeck, a substitute in Romania. England forward Rooney, who returned to action from a badly-gashed leg last week, played deeper than the leading frontman Hernandez in a difficult game in which United need to come from behind. Ferguson said: "In the last couple of years he has played that position a lot. "We tried to avoid the counter-attack as much as we could. Their goal was from a counter-attack. "We saw that and the difficulties they created and we tried to force them onto us so we could counter-attack. "It didn't quite work like that but, with Chicharito occupying the two main central defenders, it gave a bit more space for Rooney and Van Persie." United have Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick available again after illness while Jonny Evans has recovered from a dead leg. Paul Scholes was rested in midweek and could return.