23/12/2008 08:52, Report by Gemma Thompson
Rooney ready for hectic run
Wayne Rooney says the Boxing Day trip to Stoke City marks the start of a four-week period which could have a serious impact on United's quest for silverware this season.
Following the Reds' visit to the Britannia Stadium on Friday, they entertain Middlesbrough at Old Trafford the following Monday, before embarking on their FA campaign with a trip to St. Mary's to play Southampton.
Sandwiched between the two-legged Carling Cup semi-final against Derby are the league clashes with Chelsea, Wigan and Bolton, while January ends with a potential FA Cup fourth round tie and a league visit to West Brom.
Rooney believes the team are more than capable of coping with the busy run of games, but says it's vital the Reds kick things off with a victory at Stoke.
"It’s a big game and a big time of the season for us so it’s important we pick up the three points," he told ManUtd.com
"We know it'll be tough especially after having only just returned from Japan. But all the games are winnable over Christmas and we’re confident we can beat Stoke and Middlesbrough.
"The FA Cup starts soon after and we’ve got the Carling Cup semi-final with Derby and then the Chelsea game to think about.
"So the next few weeks are a big time of the season for us and they could have a real impact on how things pan out during the rest of the campaign. Hopefully we can get the results we want."