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ENGLISH FA CUP

Ferguson will give Rooney chance to shine in FA Cup clash against Chelsea

Striker left out of Manchester United's defeat in Europe will try to make Chelsea pay in FA Cup

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 March, 2013, 4:35am
 

All eyes will be on Wayne Rooney today as he aims to prove his worth to Manchester United against Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final.

The England striker was dropped to the bench for United's 2-1 Champions League loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday, sparking speculation that he could be set to leave.

United manager Alex Ferguson branded the reports "rubbish" and revealed the 27-year-old will play a part at Old Trafford today, though he stopped short of confirming Rooney would start.

"I'm not prepared to give away my team," Ferguson said. "Why should I? Why should I help anyone? We don't do that."

Ferguson was so angered by his side's loss to Madrid, which turned on the controversial 56th-minute dismissal of United winger Nani, that he refused to speak to media after the game.

But he will have found solace in United's 12-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table, as well as the possibility of reaching a first FA Cup final since 2007.

Chelsea's situation is rather less comfortable.

Winners of the FA Cup in four of the last six seasons, Chelsea's recent form suggests the trophy may represent their only chance of finishing the season with some silverware.

The Blues currently sit in fourth place in the Premier League and suffered a shock 1-0 loss at Steaua Bucharest in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday.

However, goalkeeper Petr Cech believes the trip to Old Trafford provides the perfect opportunity to draw a line beneath their own European disappointment.

"It's the best way to forget about this defeat," Cech said. "The games are coming thick and fast. We won't have much time to prepare, but we'll get a little bit of rest and hopefully we'll have a good performance.

"They are the favourites for the game, but it's the FA Cup and in the FA Cup the favourites do not win every time. We're still the holders, so we'll try to keep our trophy as long as we can."

Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic is wary of the threat that a wounded United will present.

"It is going to be one of our biggest challenges of the season, especially playing them at this moment," he said.

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