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Rupert Wyman 5th Mar 2010 - 17:14

Rooney a doubt for the Wolves match

Manchester United head to Molineux on a high following their Carling Cup victory, if they win at Wolves it will take them to the top of the Premier League.

England star Wayne Rooney, may be a doubt for United. He is being assessed on the minor knee injury that had made him a doubt for the midweek game against Egypt. However, Capello ignored advice and played him for the majority of the international friendly anyway!

Ironically, Sir Alex left Rooney out of his starting eleven that played in the Carling Cup Final, because he was worried about the draining effects of the Wembley pitch. United have a key Champions League match against AC Milan midweek, so Rooney may well be rested against Wolves.

Sir Alex Ferguson blames the Wembley pitch for his potential shortage of strikers on Saturday. Michael Owen was ruled out for the rest of the season after sustaining a hamstring tear during the match against Villa.

Mick McCarthy's men have also been boosted by the news that United defender Jonny Evans, returned injured from international duty with Northern Ireland, although Rio Ferdinand should be fit to start.

Although Wolves are struggling around the foot of the table, they can take heart from their surprise double win over Tottenham this season.  Wolves are a very spirited and determined side when they play, they have demonstrated the necessary grit to cope in the Premier league but do not have guile in equal measure.

If Wolves have any chance of stopping what seems, the inevitable loss against United, they will need Sir Alex's team to be lacklustre on the ball and play like a shadow of the side that is challenging for the Premier League.

Wolves have scored just one goal in their last five Premier League home matches and have managed just eighty two shots on target in the Premier League, the fewest in the division. Wolves must take their chances or they will end up ruing a missed opportunity, with a United side focused on Milan midweek.

Mick McCarthy is poised to name the same unchanged starting line-up for the fourth game running. He caused controversy in the reverse fixture earlier this season by sending out a much changed side at Old Trafford, to keep his first team fresh for the game against Burnley five days later.

One of William Hill's football specials this weekend, is the 7/2 priced, 'will Wayne Rooney score with a header?'. Seven of Rooney's last eight goals have been headers, a fantastic stat for one of the world's best centre forwards.

I would back the double result, draw/Man Utd at 16/5, the first half could be quite subdued, notable only for the return of Rio Ferdinand. The second half has the potential to flow into life, Sir Alex's hairdryer treatment at half time and the introduction of Rooney could inspire Manchester United to victory. I cannot see the match being a walk in the park for United, I would have a small flutter on the 2nd half correct score being Man Utd 2-1 at 12/1, United have shipped goals recently and Wolves may score on the counter attack.

The title this season is not down to the London clubs, it belongs firmly to Rooney, if he can get the best out of Berbatov, not only will it enhance Rooney's reputation further pre World Cup but United can win the League once more this year.



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