Aldershot braced for United backlash

Updated: 24 October 2011 22:33 IST

Aldershot, the lowest-ranked side left in the League Cup, could face the full force of a Manchester United backlash when the teams meet in the last 16 on Tuesday.

London:

Aldershot, the lowest-ranked side left in the League Cup, could face the full force of a Manchester United backlash when the teams meet in the last 16 on Tuesday.

United was humbled 6-1 by fierce rival Manchester City at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday, its heaviest home defeat in the league since 1955.

United manager Alex Ferguson, who labeled the result "the worst in my history, ever," has challenged his players to bounce back when they visit Aldershot, which is languishing in 15th place in the fourth tier of English football.

"That kind of defeat will make an impact on the players," a "shattered" Ferguson said after the derby defeat. "There's a lot of embarrassment in the dressing room and quite rightly so.

"Hopefully they'll show that (reaction) next week."

Chelsea visits Everton and Manchester City travels to Wolverhampton Wanderers in two of five all-Premier League games but the most intriguing matchup takes place at The EBB Stadium, where Aldershot will look to cause one of the competition's biggest shocks.

Managed by former Bolton striker Dean Holdsworth, the club located 60 kilometers south east of London has never progressed so far in the League Cup and will take heart from United's troubles against lowly opposition in cup competitions in recent years.

Leeds, then playing in third-tier League One, beat United 1-0 at Old Trafford in the third round of the FA Cup in 2010 while Ferguson's side scraped past then non-league team Crawley 1-0 in that competition last season.

Whatever the result, Aldershot - which went out of business in 1992, only to re-form and complete a return to the Football League in 2008 - is delighted to just welcome the current Premier League champions.

"On Tuesday night, we've probably got the biggest game in the club's history," Holdsworth said. "It could mean financial security for a long, long time."

Aldershot has beaten higher-league opposition in the first three rounds.

"All we can hope for is complacency from Manchester United," Holdsworth said. "They are going to turn up and be overwhelming favorites - for us it is a challenge, we are underdogs but on the day it is about who turns up."

Ferguson is likely to rest his star names for the match - giving rare opportunities to the likes of strikers Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen, who have struggled to gain much first-team action this season.

"There's players who weren't involved against City, me being one of them, and a lot of the lads need games so it'll be quite a strong Manchester United playing against them," Owen said. "It's a competition we want to do well in."

United captain Nemanja Vidic could be recalled after Fergsuon decided against risking him against City following the Serbia defender's recent return to fitness after a calf injury.

City, five points clear at the top of the Premier League after the rout of its neighbour, will be full of confidence heading to Wolves, whose only wins since mid-August have come in the League Cup.

Like United, City is also expected to give run-outs to fringe players, meaning Owen Hargreaves could return to the starting lineup for the first time since scoring for Roberto Mancini's side in the 2-0 win over defending champion Birmingham in the third round.

Everton will hope for better luck against Chelsea than the last time the teams met - at Stamford Bridge nine days ago when the London club swept to a 3-1 win in the Premier League.

Wednesday's other matches see Stoke host Liverpool, the winner of the competition a record seven times, and in-form Newcastle travel to Blackburn in all-Premier League matches.

Arsenal, last season's runner-up, is at home to Bolton on Tuesday while the second-tier League Championship is sure of two representatives in the quarterfinals with Cardiff hosting Burnley and Southampton visiting Crystal Palace.

Topics : Football Wayne Rooney Chelsea Manchester United Arsenal Mark Hughes Alex Ferguson Manchester City English Premier League
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