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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Manchester United Vs. New Castle United Match Preview

Wayne Rooney will spearhead Manchester United's attack when the Barclays Premier League champions open their title defence against Newcastle at Old Trafford.
Rooney missed the last two weeks of pre-season with a virus but Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed the England man is fit and will partner Carlos Tevez in attack.

Nani is suspended, so Ferguson must make changes from the Community Shield win over Portsmouth last weekend, with Michael Carrick tipped for a start.

Ferguson played a game of tease ahead of the Newcastle game by warning of a surprise within the next 48 hours.

In the build-up to another title defence, Ferguson played mounting speculation of Dimitar Berbatov's signing with a totally straight bat.

That was until he tired of the questioning and opted for a different tactic.

"You might be surprised at what is going to happen over the next two days,'' he said.

Given Ferguson announced seven days ago he would have a new face in his squad for the arrival of Kevin Keegan's men, nothing should be taken at face value.

But it would be no major shock if the United boss was parading a big-money signing around Old Trafford on Sunday, even if club officials are continuing to dampen down speculation that hit fever pitch at lunchtime.

There was talk of a medical in the north-west taking place and even a spot being earmarked in the squad to face Kevin Keegan's men. The truth was that Berbatov was in London, with Tottenham, preparing to travel north for a game at Middlesbrough.

"I cannot give you an answer because there isn't one,'' said Ferguson, when asked whether he still expected to bring in a new player.

"We have been trying to add to the squad but nothing has changed, I have nothing else to say.''

Newcastle have included Argentina defender Fabricio Coloccini in the squad after he was signed from Deportivo La Coruna.

The Magpies will be without four strikers - skipper Michael Owen, Mark Viduka and Andy Carroll because of injury and Shola Ameobi who is talking to Ipswich ahead of a possible move.

But there was some good news for on the striking front when Obafemi Martins returned from Nigeria feeling fine following a knee injury.

Joey Barton is not considered and Nicky Butt will captain the side on his former home ground in the absence of Owen.