Carrick ready for Spurs test

But the England international is confident United can rise to the

challenge to maintain their proud home record against the Londoners

in the Premier League. Spurs have not won at United’s ground in the

competition since its inception in 1992 but now boast one of their

best sides for years. Having finished fourth to qualify for the

Champions League last term, Spurs are again riding high in fifth

and boast two of the country’s most in-form players in Gareth Bale

and Rafael van der Vaart. United, while being two points better

off, have not been at their most clinical this term and Harry

Redknapp’s men may sense an opportunity. Carrick, who moved from

White Hart Lane in an £18.6million deal four years ago, told

the club’s website, “Records like that won’t affect

the game. “If we’ve had a bad time somewhere, we go into it as a

fresh game. It’s all new. “We need to be on our guard because it’s

a big test. They’re playing well and have had some great results.

“They’ve got such a strong squad that it’s going to be a challenge,

but we rise to challenges. Hopefully we do that again.” After an

indifferent spell, United have won their last three matches in all

competitions and Carrick feels it is important now to build

momentum. The 29-year-old said: “We need to focus on putting a good

run together. “But you can’t look too far ahead and start planning

how your run will pan out. “We’ve got a huge game against Spurs and

we’re focused on that first, but around the camp the atmosphere is

bubbly and the lads are happy.” Edwin van der Sar will take his

place in goal a day after celebrating his 40th birthday. The

veteran former Holland international – with errors such as his

high-profile gaffe against West Brom a fortnight ago still a rarity

– remains a firm fixture in the United side. United were linked

with Liverpool’s Jose Reina as a potential replacement earlier this

week but manager Sir Alex Ferguson feels Van der Sar is still going

strong. “Absolutely brilliant, incredible,” Ferguson said. “He has

gone on because he has prepared his whole life to being a top

player. “His preparation, training, standard of life – everything

has been geared to staying in the game as long as he has. “We

haven’t spoken about it [the future] but I think he is enjoying

football at the moment and let him continue.”