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Saturday, March 10, 2007

FA Cup, Boro V. Manchester United Preview

Henrik Larsson plays his last game for Manchester United as they travel to Middlesbrough for their FA Cup quarter-final clash at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

With Louis Saha (hamstring) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (knee) out injured, Larsson will start alongside Wayne Rooney up front for United. Chinese striker Dong Fangzhuo has also been called into the United squad for the first time, and is expected to take a place on the bench, alongside Alan Smith.

Defender Mikael Silvestre is set to be on the sidelines for about three weeks after suffering a dislocated shoulder, and Darren Fletcher (ankle) also definitely misses the clash.

Middlesbrough have yet to win a match inside 90 minutes in the competition this season, and will need strikers Yakubu and Mark Viduka to continue the run of form that has seen them account for 9 of their 12 Cup goals so far.

"Without question, this is the biggest game of the season," said Boro boss Gareth Southgate. "The next game is always the biggest, but the opportunity to get into the semi-final is a great carrot for us.

"I've told the players, we don't have to be a better team or a better club than them, we just have to be better than them for 90 minutes on Saturday."

Defender Robert Huth played 45 minutes in a reserve team game on Wednesday as he continues his comeback from a broken foot, but the Germany international is not expected to feature on Saturday.

Midfielder Fabio Rochemback also played 90 minutes in that game, and could be fit enough for a place on the bench.