Brown demands Cup focus at Manchester United

Wes Brown is determined Manchester United's Carling Cup defence will not stumble at the first hurdle tonight.



United face Wolves at Old Trafford with neither side likely to be anywhere near full strength given the competing demands Sir Alex Ferguson and Mick McCarthy must juggle.

Ferguson has tended to use the competition as a testing ground for his talented youngsters and the measure of their ability was proven last term when United collected the trophy at Wembley, overcoming Tottenham in a penalty shoot-out.

There have been some setbacks though, notably against Coventry at Old Trafford the season before, which Brown is anxious to avoid again.

"We have slipped up on the odd occasion in matches like this," he said.

"But I know we have a big enough squad now to put out a very strong side against Wolves.

"People always say we play weaker teams but we still go out to win those games.

"It is a perfect scenario for the gaffer. He can put in some of the younger players and give them a bit of experience.

"But just because they might not be as recognisable as the big names doesn't mean we are any less determined. We don't like losing in any competition."

Ben Foster's disappointing performance against Manchester City seems to have opened the first-team door to Tomasz Kuszczak while Edwin van der Sar completes the final stages of his recovery from a broken finger.

Kuszczak was always set to feature tomorrow but the Pole must be aware an impressive display might allow him to keep his place for Saturday's Premier League trip to Stoke.

Republic of Ireland international Darron Gibson gets another chance to build on a blossoming reputation, while Michael Owen is likely to start for only the second time this season after his match-winning exploits at the weekend.

For Brown it is a priceless opportunity after a season wrecked by injury, just when it seemed his fitness problems were at an end.

"There is no point thinking 'Why me?' I just get on with it and try to be confident," said Brown, who has undergone cruciate operations on both knees and two lots of ankle surgery during a career punctuated by too many major injuries.

"Getting injured for most of last season was not very pleasant but I am used to it I suppose. I am fit at the moment. That is the main thing."

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