Age-old rivals Leeds United and Manchester United will once again go head-to-head tomorrow night in the third round of the Carling Cup.
League meetings between the clubs have been few and far between in recent years after the Whites dropped out of the Premier League in 2004. But the Yorkshire club did record a famous FA Cup success at Old Trafford in 2010 and their vociferous supporters will be hoping for a similar result on terra firma this time around.
The Premier League champions have made a blistering start to 2011/12 and sit proudly at the top of the table having won every match so far.
Leeds’ results haven’t been quite as convincing and they are in the middle of the Championship pack with six weeks of the season gone. Simon Grayson’s men are improving, however, and they have won their last two league encounters.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side for the Roses clash is likely to be much-changed from the one that convincingly beat Chelsea at the weekend and this surely represents Leeds’ best hope of victory.
Saying that, United’s second string is hardly ‘weak’, with the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia and Darron Gibson set to come in.
For the hosts, Patrick Kisnorbo will not be available for Simon Grayson’s side after his sending off against Bristol City on Saturday so Paul Connolly could earn himself a reprieve at full-back. In attack, Luciano Becchio should partner Scottish forward Ross McCormack.
The fierce rivals have met four times in the Carling Cup, with the Red Devils coming out on top on all four occasions. They have not met in the competition since 2003, when David Bellion, Diego Forlan and Eric Djemba-Djemba won the game for United.
However, despite the obvious gulf in class, don’t be surprised if the passionate Elland Road crowd roars their team to another famous cup win in tomorrow night’s 19:45 kick-off.