Manchester United (H)
Derby welcome back Manchester United to Pride Park for an FA Cup Fifth round clash that sees both sides in a good run of form with United on a run of 13 straight clean sheets in the league and a Carling Cup final against Spurs to look forward to. Nigel Clough`s team have won the last three matches, scoring eight goals in the process, with some exciting football and go into this tie having beaten their illustrious visitors 1-0 last time out in the first leg of their Carling Cup Semi-Final clash although United eventually triumphed 4-3 on aggregate.
County`s recent run of form has been based around continuity in team selection and there are a number of decent looking partnerships building in the side with Robbie Savage and Paul Green looking a balanced pairing in midfield. Rob Hulse and Kris Commons have also forged a partnership up front that has provided seven goals in their last five outings and Clough hailed Commons performance at Plymouth last time out as his best since he took charge. Stephen Bywater has signed a new three year contract this week and appears to now be first choice ahead of Roy Carroll as Derby`s number one. Jay McEveley will miss out having picked up his fifth booking of the season against Argyle and his form has been praised since his return to the side giving a more solid look to the left side of the Derby backline
Manchester United will be looking to put on a better show than their last visit and Alex Ferguson looks set to name a stronger side as they look to progress to the quarter-finals. They have won eight in a row since Commons strike gave Derby the advantage and, cup ties aside, they haven`t conceded a goal since 8th November when they went down 2-1 to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. It looks like this game will come too early for Wayne Rooney to return from injury but United still have a quality squad to pick from, Ryan Giggs reminding everyone of his class with a fine strike to give his side a 1-0 win at Upton Park
'In a one-off cup tie, lightning can strike twice."
That may be counter-balanced by their determination to put things right from the last time because they were below par that evening."
Nigel Clough talking to Radio Derby about the upcoming clash with United.
Derby County Team News:
Jay McEveley is out after picking up his fifth booking of the season and Stephen Pearson could be on the bench again as he continues his return from injury.
Player to watch: Rob Hulse
Hulse is on fire at the moment with five goals in his last five games and is benefiting from the team playing with real width since Clough has taken over and his partnership with Commons continues to flourish.
Manchester United Team News:
Wayne Rooney may not yet be fit enough to return but Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra all return to the squad.
Player to watch: Ryan Giggs
Should anyone need reminding he showed his class with the winner against West Ham on Sunday and will be back in contention for a place on the left of United`s midfield in this tie.
Match Facts & Stats
Last five results
Nottingham Forest (H) 1-1 Hulse
Birmingham City (A) 0-1
Coventry City (H) 2-1 Hulse, Commons
Nottingham Forest (A) 3-2 Hulse, Green, Commons
Plymouth Argyle (A) 3-0 Teale, Hulse (2)
Derby County (H) 4-2 Nani, Tevez, O`Shea, Ronaldo
Tottenham Hotspur (H) 2-1 Scholes, Berbatov
West Bromwich Albion (A) 5-0 Berbatov, Tevez, Vidic, Ronaldo (2)
Everton (H) 1-0 Ronaldo
West Ham United (A) 1-0 Giggs
Expect another rip-roaring cup tie with The Rams boosted by their recent run of form and the result when these sides met in the Carling Cup in early January. United will be keen to put that result behind them and, with a stronger side, expect them to edge this one 2-1.
18th Feb v Blackpool (Coca Cola Championship) Pride Park