Ex-Eagles striker and lifelong Red James Scowcroft previews the trip to Selhurst Park...
Firstly, James, some background: you played professionally for Ipswich, Leicester, Coventry and Crystal Palace, but you're a lifelong United fan, is that right?
That's correct. My dad's side of the family were from Manchester so as a kid I used to come up and watch as many games as I could. I played football for 20 years and I was very fortunate to do that and thoroughly enjoyed it. I finished playing three-and-a-half years ago and I probably get to about 25 or 30 United games a season. I've always loved the club and I go to quite a few games home and away. It's always something that has been in me and always will be.
It's been a challenging season; what are your thoughts on the campaign so far?
Football is a game of highs and lows, and United have had many highs, certainly in the last 20 years or so. It's a big period now, one of transition. It's been disappointing this season but it's not over yet. There still things to play for and hopefully in the summer we'll regroup, get some signings in and go again next season.
Do you think with a few players coming back from injury – Rooney, van Persie – and Juan Mata's arrival that United can kick on now?
Definitely and I think the next two or three months are really important for the club because when you go away in the summer people really remember how the season finished. If United can get a real good run now in the last dozen or so games – hopefully we have a really good go at the Champions League – the players can take that into the summer and really give next season a go.
United go into Saturday's game on the back of a ten-day break. As a player what can a mid-season rest, mentally and physically, do for a group of players?
It'll have a big impact. If you look at players now, especially at the top end of the game and with the World Cup in the summer, it's