Ferguson to play strong line-up

Despite fears that Ferguson was going to select a very weak team

for Sunday’s encounter, which Blackpool need to win to give

themselves the best possible chance of survival, the United boss

has revealed his intention to pick at least half a dozen

experienced players. And Van der Sar, who retires after the

Champions League final with Barcelona on May 28, is amongst them.

“I have players who need a game,” said Ferguson. “Darren Fletcher,

Paul Scholes, Anderson, Dimitar Berbatov, Patrice Evra and Edwin

van der Sar will play.” If Scholes decides to retire, it would be

his last Premier League game for United too. The 36-year-old has

still to tell United whether he is going to accept a one-year

contract offer. But Ferguson thinks he will. “I don’t think this

will be his last game,” he said. “We have discussed it and I have

encouraged him to stay on for another year.” Blackpool boss Ian

Holloway has already been scathing about the threat of a fine being

dangled over Ferguson should he field a weakened team on Sunday.

The United manager is not bothered about that. He only has a

problem if his team loses, which he does not intend to happen. “You

should be criticised if you lose a game that affects other teams,”

said Ferguson. “I remember we played Hull a couple of years ago and

played a lot of young players but we won the game 1-0. “For some

reason the previous year, Neil Warnock found it easy to criticise

us for losing to West Ham. But if he had seen the game we battered

them, so it was a bit unfair.” Meanwhile, Ferguson also confirmed

he will give his first-choice line-up some part in Gary Neville’s

testimonial against Juventus on Tuesday, when former England

captain David Beckham will be a welcome visitor to Old Trafford.

“We have to think about that game because Gary has been a fantastic

servant to this club,” said Ferguson. “I hope he gets the crowd he

deserves.”