Sun, Feb 15, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Vidic not ready to rest on his laurels

AFP , DERBY, ENGLAND

Nemanja Vidic has no intention of resting on his laurels as Manchester United continue their bid for a trophy clean sweep at Derby County in the FA Cup fifth round today.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s team have already won the Club World Cup this season and are still in the hunt for the other four competitions they entered.

United are two points clear at the top of the Premier League, face Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup final on March 1 and are through to the Champions League last 16, where they take on Inter later this month.

A victory against Nigel Clough’s Championship outfit this weekend would ease United in the last eight of the FA Cup as well.

The strain of competing for so many different trophies may prove too much to handle in the end, with the FA Cup fairly low down United’s list of priorities.

But Serbia center-back Vidic, who has been ever-present during United’s record-breaking run of 13 successive clean sheets, is determined not to surrender in any competition.

“I am very proud and happy to be part of a team that created the record,” Vidic said. “I have been there all the time and it is a nice feeling to know you have not lost a goal for so many games. We are delighted to have the new record, but we will try to keep going and doing the same things we have done in the past, because the most important thing is to win games.”

Wayne Rooney remains a doubt for the Derby clash with a hamstring strain, but defenders Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans are all in contention to play.

Ferdinand missed England’s defeat against Spain in midweek through illness, but is expected to recover for the visit to Pride Park.

Evra is now over the foot injury he sustained in the win over Chelsea last month, while Evans has shaken off an ankle knock.

“Rio was feeling better when he came in on Thursday. He didn’t train, but he should be fine,” United assistant manager Mike Phelan said.

The only question for Ferguson will be who to rest with a view to the Premier League clash with Fulham on Wednesday.

Edwin van der Sar, who has not conceded a goal since facing Gamba Osaka in the Club World Cup in December, is likely to be given the day off along with Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo.

Although they lie 35 places below United in the league standings, Derby find themselves in the unique position of being the only team to taste victory over United this year.

Derby’s League Cup semi-final first-leg win is the only blip for United in a 23-game run dating back to a 2-1 defeat at Arsenal on Nov. 8. They are struggling in the second-tier of English soccer, but have shown signs of improvement since Clough took charge last month.

Clough has a history of frustrating United in the competition after masterminding an impressive goalless draw at Old Trafford when in charge of non-league Burton Albion in the third round three years ago.

Derby will be without defender Jay McEveley, who is serving a one-match ban after picking up five yellow cards, while midfielder Stephen Pearson is expected to be among the substitutes as he continues his return to fitness following a knee injury.

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