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Friday, March 7, 2008

Park poised for Pompey

Ji-sung Park believes United will take heart from their dominant display against Portsmouth in January as they prepare for Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final.

Pompey’s away form has been good this season but they were completely outplayed in a 2-0 league defeat by the Reds at Old Trafford five weeks ago.

Park told “It will be a tough game on Saturday, even though we are at home. But it helps that we have already beaten Portsmouth once at home this season – and we played very well that day.”

Despite scoring his first goal in nearly a year against Fulham last Saturday, Park found himself on the bench for the midweek Champions League win over Lyon.

But with games coming thick and fast at the moment, the Korean accepts squad rotation is inevitable, especially when Sir Alex Ferguson has such a strong midfield at his disposal.

“We have a good squad which gives us a lot of options,” Park continued. “I know there will be more opportunities for me to play because we have plenty of games left this season.”

The energetic winger is happy to be contributing to United’s trophy quest after missing the first half of the campaign – and the back-end of last season – though injury.

“I’ve been back two months and I just want to enjoy playing football and help the team win trophies,” he said. “I needed a goal and now I have one, hopefully I will score a few more.” Read more...

No retirement date for boss

Sir Alex Ferguson is refusing to put a timescale on any potential retirement, despite reports in the press that he will quit in three years.

The manager was quoted in the UK press as saying “maybe three more years, then I’ll finish”. But he was less committed to a specific date when asked about his intentions at his Friday press briefing at Carrington.

“I’m not putting a time limit on it, it’s impossible,” he told reporters. "You never know what happens in life.

“It’s something I have said for quite a while. If you are fit and healthy and enjoying your job, then who knows? Two, three, maybe four years, it’s difficult to pigeon-hole myself on that one.”

Sir Alex, of course, did plan to retire in 2002, but went back on his decision. The boss admitted that pre-announcing his retirement had an affect on the team, and in February 2002 agreed to stay in charge for at least another three years.

He is currently on a rolling one-year contract, and shows no sign of retiring soon. Read more...

Reds consider Foster loan option

United are considering a number of enquiries from Championship clubs to take Ben Foster on loan until the end of the season.

The 24-year-old goalkeeper returned from a serious knee injury for United’s reserves on Thursday this week, coming through the entire 90 minutes. Having suffered no adverse reaction, Sir Alex Ferguson is eager to challenge Foster with regular first-team football. And it appears there is no shortage of offers.

“I was hoping he would come through the Reserve match last night because there is a consideration for us to put him out on loan with a Championship club until the end of the season,” confirmed Sir Alex.

“I’ll have a chat with him early next week, but we’ve already had a few enquiries for him from the Championship and I think it would be good for him. We will consider all these options at the beginning of next week.”

Foster is certainly highly-rated, both at United and for England, and news of his return has raised the prospect of the former Stoke City shot-stopper challenging for the number one spot with both club and country.

“He came through the game without any problems,” added Sir Alex. “We are very pleased because he is a fantastic prospect. Everyone recognises that he is potentially the top goalkeeper England have available. I think he is above them all.

“It would have been yet another selection dilemma for me if Ben had been available this season. The experience and performances of Edwin van der Sar, and even Tomasz Kuszczak. Next season I will have that dilemma about who my number one choice will be. But challenging and competition is a good thing, and I look forward to that.” Read more...