The Reds travel down South without the luxury of their manager on the sidelines, but they will be confident facing a Pompey side in transition…
Form Guide: The off-the-field problems at Portsmouth have certainly filtered down on to the Fratton Park pitch, having mustered only two league wins all season. Two takeovers in a matter of weeks have seen a transfer embargo placed on the club, as well as the sale of star players such as Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Glen Johnson and Lassana Diarra. Pompey’s only wins came against Wolves (1-0) and Wigan (4-0). Their most recent defeat against Stoke was the final straw for the board, who sacked Paul Hart earlier this week. To lighten the mood around the club, they have progressed to the Carling Cup quarter-finals thanks to wins over Hereford, Carlisle and Stoke.
Ins and outs: Jonny Evans and John O'Shea are doubts, while Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves are still out. Pompey are likely to be without goalkeeper David James, who is suffering from a calf strain, while Linvoy Primus is still out with a foot injury. Ex-Reds' striker Danny Webber could feature against his former side.
Star man: Jamie O’Hara has been one of few bright sparks at Fratton Park this season, providing the energy in the Pompey engine room. He’s spending the year at Portsmouth on loan from Tottenham, and notched his first goal in November. United fans will remember him for missing Spurs’ first penalty in the Carling Cup final shoot-out last season.
Manager: Former Chelsea boss Avram Grant has taken over the reigns at Fratton Park following Hart's dismissal. The 54-year-old Israeli was already at the club in his second spell working as director of football. He previously guided Chelsea to second place, behind United, in the Barclays Premier League in 2007/08 and also to the Champions League final in Moscow, where the Blues lost on penalties to Sir Alex's men. It turned out to be Grant's last game in charge.
Referee: Mike Dean from the Wirral will be in charge of this one. He dished out nine yellow cards in United's 2-1 victory over Arsenal earlier this season, and last oversaw Portsmouth in their 2-2