Hull expect to have veteran midfielder Nick Barmby available for the visit of Barclays Premier League champions Manchester United on Sunday.

The former England international has not trained this week after suffering a calf injury during last weekend's defeat at Arsenal but should be fit.

Manager Phil Brown has no other fitness concerns aside from long-term casualties Jimmy Bullard and Ian Ashbee.

Midfielder Seyi Olofinjana is due to link up with Nigeria for the African Nations Cup after the game but the club are still hoping to delay his departure.

Dean Marney, Stephen Hunt and Kamil Zayatte are all one booking away from an automatic suspension.

Brown knows better than to take an under-strength Manchester United lightly - but is hopeful of surprising the champions on Sunday.

Injury-hit United are again likely to be forced to play with midfielders in their defence as they face Brown's side at the KC Stadium.

Sir Alex Ferguson's makeshift rearguard was exposed in a shock 3-0 defeat at Fulham last weekend but Brown knows all too well United's understudies should not be underestimated.

With a Champions League final to prepare for, United fielded a virtual third-string side in the corresponding fixture last season - and still won 1-0. That result, on the final day of the campaign, would have relegated the Tigers had Newcastle not been beaten on the same afternoon.

Brown said: "There have been one or two surprises there this year, probably lads in the reserves at the start of the season that didn't think they would get a chance.

"But they are Manchester United players, it is as simple as that. They made a lot of changes last year and beat us 1-0, playing some great football. We have got to be prepared for that. Whatever comes out of Manchester United's changing room is good enough."

Ferguson is ready to rush Brazilian brothers Fabio and Rafael Da Silva back into his line-up for the trip to Hull.

The teenage duo have both been absent with shoulder problems but as United's defensive problems continue could be unleashed against Brown's men.

Ferguson is crossing his fingers that either Wes Brown (hamstring) or Nemanja Vidic (thigh) are able to play, having expressed confidence they should both be available for the clash with Wigan on December 30.

Ahead of the game, Manchester United's rivals have been warned - Ryan Giggs does not expect to end his career with his current record-breaking trophy haul.

It has been some month for the veteran Welshman.

In addition to pocketing the BBC Sports Personality of the Year prize, Giggs has also agreed another one-year contract extension that will run to 2011 and complete two decades in the United first team.

With 11 league titles and two European Cups among his haul of honours, Giggs could be forgiven for winding down.

But he is having none of it. As he prepares for another festive programme which, if it does not see him involved at Hull on Sunday, will include an appearance against Wigan on December 30, the former Wales skipper's intentions are focussed exclusively on more silverware.

"There are plenty of trophies to win before I finish," he said. "You can't win anything once you have retired and I still want more. What is the point looking back. I will have 40 or 50 years to do that."

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Topics:
Football
Nick Barmby
Premier League
Manchester United
Hull City