Manchester United v Crystal Palace: League Cup preview

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Manchester United v Crystal Palace

Carling Cup quarter-final; Old Trafford; Weds, 30th Nov; 20:00 KO.

Team News

Sir Alex Ferguson will make 'complete changes' for the visit of Crystal Palace, with Zeki Fryers, Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba all expected to start for the Red Devils.

Federico Macheda is also expected to make a rare start up-front, whilst Chris Smalling could also make his return from injury.

Darren Ambrose is the biggest concern for the Eagles, but the captain is expected to feature at Old Trafford.

Rising star Jonathan Williams is out of action with a broken leg, whilst Lee Hills and Alex Marrow are also unavailable for the visitors.

Fergie defends Cup credentials

Sir Alex Ferguson has jumped to the defence of the League Cup, suggesting it could be key to Manchester United finding a new 'David Beckham era'.

The Red Devils chief has come in for criticism in the past, resting several senior players in the earlier stages of the competition in an effort to give young players first team opportunities.

But the Scot believes he's been vindicated by the success of the club's youth team products in the past, and will be hoping his latest batch of talent can follow in the footsteps of Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs & Co.

“I like the Carling Cup. It’s a change of scene with different opposition, different managers and different players. It’s a refreshing competition that has served Manchester United well over the years," said the United boss.

“Some regard it as the poor relation of the cup competitions but I don’t knock it. It was a trophy we won to keep us in touch with the honours board before we were able to crack the League Championship.

“We have won it five times altogether and it has also served us well in terms of being a valuable development aid for our younger players."

Dougie Freedman, meanwhile, will be looking to cause an upset as he takes his Championship side to Old Trafford.

The Eagles chief will be wary of Friday night's league clash against Derby, but hopes the 11 players who step out onto the pitch in-front of the 6,000 traveling fans from south London.

"We have to go up there with a game plan. It's important though to be flexible and adapt your plans to fit the situation. You look at Manchester United and they can change their tactics four or five times in a game if it is not working and you have to be able to respond to what they do," said Freedman.

"Even if I wanted to there is no way I'll be able to pick the same team against Derby that played at Manchester United two days before. Football is a squad game these days and I'll have to chop and change."

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