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Michael Taylor 21st Sep 2010 - 18:38

Dagnall can give Fergie something to ponder

Scunthorpe United have endured a tough couple of weeks in the aftermath of Nigel Adkins departure to Southampton but on Wednesday night all will be forgotten when Manchester United arrive in town.

For caretaker boss Ian Baraclough the timing couldn't have been better with morale depleted following a miserable two goal loss at Swansea while he perhaps needs one more big showing before being a real managerial candidate.

They have shown they are capable of big results though with Baraclough overseeing an unbelievable 4-0 away win at Sheffield United in his first game in temporary control of The Iron.

Man Utd, even their reserves, may represent a massive step up from the Blades but if the likes of Chris Dagnall come out firing on Wednesday then the Red Devils may not have it all their own way.

Dagnall, a summer time free transfer from Rochdale showed why he drew so much off-season interest with a stylish brace at Bramall Lane, in the process showing just how clinical he can be.

It's vital that likes of Dagnall and his strike partner Jonathan Forte arrive at Glandford Park right at the top of their game - if they do then what will most likely be a makeshift United side may look a little suspect at the back.

Dagnall is 7/2 to score anytime, Forte is 4/1 anytime both of which seem great shouts for a team that has lived with a score more goals than the opposition for the past few seasons.

However, if the front men don't get much of the ball in the right positions then it's hard to see Scunthorpe getting a foothold in the game with Sir Alex's men likely to dominate possession for the majority.

Michael Owen is likely to step in for hat-trick hero Dimitar Berbatov and the former England man will be desperate to prove he still has a role to play for the Manchester giants.

Owen's name has been bandied about in transfer rumours all week but you just get the feeling he's not willing to give up on getting back into the fold at a European heavyweight.

For this reason, plus the fact he's historically one of the Premier League's most lethal finishers, makes him a great bet at Evens to score anytime and 7/2 to net the first of the game.

Moreover, on paper this game as the appearance of an attacking feast with both sides placing the emphasis on playing the game in the opponent's half rather than placing a bus in front of their own goal.

It hasn't quite happened in front of goal for Scunthorpe this season with only five in six (excluding the freak 4-0 win) however they have nothing to lose come Wednesday night.

Nobody expects them to dump the defending champions out given United's record in the League Cup - the last time they lost to lower league opposition was in the 1990/91 final to Sheffield Wednesday - but the home side, and a passionate home following, will be determined not to be the makeweights.

Add in the likelihood of a weakened away side though and I can easily be tempted into the 7/2 draw price.

For me though the real value is in the total goals market with 6/4 about over 3.5 looking particularly handy.

No offence to Scunthorpe, especially since people such as Mirfin and Byrne have great moments, but this is a side in which defensive frailties proved near fatal last year and could be just as damaging this season - and if anybody can open the door then Fergie's men can.


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