Premier League

Ferguson faces derby dilemma

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson believes he will struggle to pick his side for the Manchester derby.
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Sir Alex Ferguson admits it will be hard to pick his Manchester United side to face neighbors City because everyone wants to be involved.

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United hold a 15-point lead over City going into Monday's clash at Old Trafford, and Ferguson is relishing the prospect of locking horns with their local rivals once again.

He faces a selection dilemma as there is so much enthusiasm within the squad to play against City, and recognizes that he will have to consider carefully which players to rest.

"These are the games that everyone wants to be involved in, the derby games," Ferguson told Inside United.

"Over the last few years the derby games have been far more important than they ever were, so we've all been looking forward to them. But we've had a heavy program leading up to the game so we just have to manage it."

One of Ferguson's choices concerns who should start in attack, with Wayne Rooney expected to be fit despite suffering a thigh injury on international duty with England.

Ferguson is keen for Rooney to play as regularly as possible, but Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck provide fierce competition for places.

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Speaking broadly about how he planned to use his strikers during the run-in, Ferguson added: "I've no worries about Rooney because he's needing games, he's the kind of player who has to play all the time.

"With van Persie, we have to monitor it because we still don't know all about Robin, and the kind of seasons he's had. I don't think he had a season of such intensity during his time at Arsenal, so we'll have to look at that. Welbeck's looking strong as well, as is Chicharito."

United bowed out of the FA Cup against Chelsea on Monday but Ferguson can take great satisfaction from a league campaign which has so far yielded 25 wins from 30 games.

He said: "The form in the league has been very good. But the international break came at a difficult time for us, in terms of preparing for the following fixtures.

"We had the game on the Saturday against Sunderland and then the Cup replay against Chelsea on the Monday, after so many of the players had played two international games. And the caliber of player that we have means they always play for their international teams, that's for sure."

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