Man United v Tottenham preview
By Adam Marshall. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Manchester United desperately need to recapture some of their best form after a torrid spell and Tottenham could be just the team to feel the backlash.
Spurs have taken only one point at Old Trafford from 11 visits and Ruud van Nistelrooy has scored in every match he has played against the North Londoners.
However, David Pleat's side are second only to Arsenal in the form table since the turn of the year and the 1-0 win over Newcastle United showed the caretaker manager is finally beginning to sort out his team's defensive problems.
United have doubts over Roy Keane (hamstring), Mikael Silvestre (knee), Cristiano Ronaldo (thigh) and Louis Saha (Achilles) so the regular headache over who to play in defence will be causing Sir Alex Ferguson problems.
Gary Neville is still suspended, as, of course, is Rio Ferdinand, so every effort will be made to get Keane and Silvestre fit.
Eric Djemba-Djemba returns from international duty and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has a good goalscoring record against Spurs, will be hoping he has done enough to earn a first starting place since his comeback from knee surgery.
The visitors will be tempted to hand Jamie Redknapp a start, his first since September, after he came off the bench to good effect against Newcastle.
Simon Davies, who had a trial with United in his Peterborough United days, is a doubt with a thigh problem while Jermain Defoe, long linked with The Red Devils while at West Ham, should get a chance to show Ferguson what he is missing.
Of course, two American keepers will be in opposition with Kasey Keller predicting Tim Howard can hold down the United role for the next decade.
"Tim is a good level-headed guy and there is no reason why he can't keep that position for the next ten years," said Keller.