Everton v Manchester United: Match preview

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Everton v Manchester United

Goodison Park; Monday 20 August 2012, 20:00 KO

Barclays Premier League

Team News

Everton manager David Moyes has fitness doubts over midfield duo Marouane Fellaini (groin) and Darron Gibson (thigh) after both players pulled out of international duty last week.

Steven Pienaar is set to deputise at the beginning of his second permanent spell at Goodison Park, while fellow summer signing Steven Naismith is likely to start on the bench.

Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson welcomes club captain Nemanja Vidic back into Manchester United's threadbare defence, which is missing four first-team players; Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans.

Michael Carrick could deputise at centre-half, while £24million signing Robin van Persie is poised for his Manchester United debut alongside Wayne Rooney.

Carrick confident United can respond

Manchester United will bounce back from last season's Premier League title disappointment and return even stronger in 2012/13, insists Michael Carrick.

The 31-year-old midfielder admits the nature of the defeat - losing out to local rivals Manchester City on the final day of the campaign - was hard to take, but is confident the players will use it as motivation to go one better this term.

"As a club, we do tend to bounce back," said Carrick. "If we have a defeat or set-back, we tend to come back stronger. But yes, last season was hard to take - we were so close.

"It wasn't a disaster because we played well from start to finish. But if it wasn't for that last-minute City goal, it would have been a much, much better summer.

"We have to get over it now. We've had setbacks in the past and we have to move on. That's the nature of the club and the manager - he'll be driving us forward to achieve something special this season."

United's campaign starts with a tough trip to Goodison Park to face Everton tonight, with Sir Alex Ferguson's side determined to return with all three points.

"Last season doesn't count for anything now, everything is new and we're looking forward to it," added Carrick. "When we reported back for pre-season, the manager just told us to go again - and we will.

"We'll bounce back - we're strong this year and we're hungry."

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