Man Utd v Southampton – Match preview and team news

League leaders Manchester United will be highly confident of extending their lead at the top over rivals Manchester City back to seven points as they welcome a Southampton side still reeling from the sacking of Nigel Adkins and arrival of Mauricio Pochettino as his replacement.

Sir Alex Ferguson is said to make a number of changes from the side that comfortably saw off Fulham in the FA Cup on Saturday, with Robin Van Persie, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand all set to return, along with Shinji Kagawa. Ferguson could choose to leave out either Wayne Rooney or Javier Hernandez, who both scored in the 4-1 romp over Fulham or indeed could field both alongside Van Persie in a three-pronged attack. However, Ashley Young (knee) and Jonny Evans (hamstring) miss out, along with Darren Fletcher (bowel).

Southampton may be able to call upon club captain Adam Lallana for the first time in almost two months after the midfielder recovered from knee ligament damage, while defender Vegard Forren could be handed a debut in the Saints’ backline. Jose Fonte and Guly Do Prado (both knee) remain absent while Pochettino must choose between Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez for the thankless task of performing the lone striker’s role at Old Trafford.

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