Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted that Rio Ferdinand will return to action for the Red Devils tonight - and he'll face a real test in the form of Peter Crouch.

The veteran England international defender has missed several spells through injury this season, suffering a hamstring strain and a back problem recently.

At 33 years of age, Ferdinand has plenty of experience, but with young blood competing for places at United, he will need to prove himself this evening.

Crouch joined Stoke in August for a fee that could rise to £12 million, and has scored six goals in 17 league appearances for the side so far this season.

A 42-cap international, the 6ft 7in striker has always proved effective for clubs including Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Liverpool, Spurs and now Stoke.

He'll be looking to cause all sorts of trouble for the United defence tonight with Tony Pulis' side looking to build on recent impressive form.

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