FOOTBALL NEWS

09/03/2007 13:18, Report by Gemma Thompson

Strong side travels to Boro

Despite a host of injuries, Sir Alex Ferguson insists he will still be taking a strong squad to The Riverside as United bid to book their place in the last four of the FA Cup.

The Reds are without Paul Scholes through suspension, plus injury victims Mikael Silvestre, Louis Saha, Darren Fletcher and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, although the latter trio look likely to be back in action sooner than initially expected. Sir Alex is predicting a tough encounter against Gareth Southgate's men, but is hopeful of making it through to the competition's semi-finals.

"It should be a fantastic Cup tie and we'll be taking a very strong squad," insisted the Gaffer. "Away games are never easy in the Cup and I don't expect it to be any different on Saturday.

"They'll be positive because they've got a home draw and will think they can win. However, there is a great resolve amongst our players, you saw that at Liverpool and at Fulham. There's no doubt that as the season goes on the team spirit is growing."

Around four thousand Reds will make the trip to the Riverside for the tea-time clash. In the past, United have had their ticket allocation restricted because of issues surrounding fans standing, but, much to Sir Alex's delight, Saturday's away end will be much fuller than normal.

"We'll have a strong support behind us which we're very pleased about," added the United boss. "The council have restricted our support in the past because the fans stand, but I watch games every week and everyone is standing. Middlesbrough have fought hard to get our support increased and credit to them for that. But we ask our fans to respect the stewards at the ground and allow them to go about their job in an easy manner."

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