Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson facing tough choices for derby

Sir Alex Ferguson: Recognises that everyone wants to be involved in derby games

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Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that everyone wants to be involved in derby games but says he will have to manage his Manchester United squad carefully following their busy recent schedule.

United hold a 15-point lead over Manchester City going into Monday's clash at Old Trafford, and Ferguson is relishing the prospect of locking horns with their local rivals once again.

He faces a selection dilemma as there is so much enthusiasm within the squad to play against City, and recognises that he will have to consider carefully which players to rest.

"These are the games that everyone wants to be involved in, the derby games," Ferguson told Inside United.

"Over the last few years the derby games have been far more important than they ever were, so we've all been looking forward to them. But we've had a heavy programme leading up to the game so we just have to manage it."

One of Ferguson's choices concerns who should start in attack, with Wayne Rooney expected to be fit despite suffering a thigh injury on international duty with England.

Ferguson is keen for Rooney to play as regularly as possible, but Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck provide fierce competition for places.

Speaking broadly about how he planned to use his strikers during the run-in, Ferguson added: "I've no worries about Rooney because he's needing games, he's the kind of player who has to play all the time.

"With Van Persie, we have to monitor it because we still don't know all about Robin, and the kind of seasons he's had. I don't think he had a season of such intensity during his time at Arsenal, so we'll have to look at that. Welbeck's looking strong as well, as is Chicharito."

United bowed out of the FA Cup against Chelsea on Monday but Ferguson can take great satisfaction from a league campaign which has so far yielded 25 wins from 30 games.

He said: "The form in the league has been very good. But the international break came at a difficult time for us, in terms of preparing for the following fixtures.

"We had the game on the Saturday against Sunderland and then the Cup replay against Chelsea on the Monday, after so many of the players had played two international games. And the calibre of player that we have means they always play for their international teams, that's for sure."