After settling a neighbourly dispute last weekend to remain in place to retain their Premier League title, Manchester United switch their attention to the Carling Cup tonight as they begin their defence of the trophy against Wolves.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side, for whom Michael Owen is expected to make only his second United start, begin as favourites at Old Trafford – Wolves having not won there for 29 years, or even scored in their last four visits – but the Scot does not need to cast his mind too far back for motivation. It was at the same stage of the competition two seasons ago that Coventry overcame the odds to defeat United 2-0 away from home, and Wolves manager Mick McCarthy will send his team out with attacking intentions.
"We are not going there to sit back," he said. "We will play 4-4-2 and have a game with them. I have never beaten United at Old Trafford in anything. We want to try to win the game."
Elsewhere, Hull and Manchester City host Premier League opposition in Everton and Fulham respectively, while Cardiff City visit in-form Aston Villa. Jim Magilton and Queens Park Rangers become the latest side to try and spoil Carlo Ancelotti's 100 per cent start as Chelsea manager as the Hoops make the short trip to Stamford Bridge.
Harry Redknapp's defensive problems are eased by the return of Michael Dawson for Tottenham's trip to Preston. The centre-back has failed to feature this campaign after suffering an Achilles injury in pre-season but should feature for an hour tonight. Roman Pavlyuchenko will sit the game out with his own Achilles problem, although goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes is expected to make a first appearance in five weeks.Reuse content