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Another big game - 20/11/2002

Another big game
No sending off this time
   Gary Neville
   David Beckham
   Paul Scholes
   Rio Ferdinand
   Manchester United

With the trip to Man Utd on Saturday and then the visit of Inter next week, the big games are coming thick and fast. Perhaps it’s a good time to be playing a Man Utd side missing Beckham , Keane, Ferdinand, Butt, and Gary Neville, but then again, their replacements have to be respected. Not many sides lose three midfielders yet still send out Giggs, Veron, Scholes, and Fortune! They also have a few young players coming through; O’Shea and Richardson for example. With carrying injuries the doors open for the other players to come in and stake a claim. If need a reminder of how this can affect a team, then just look at Juventus and their away win in Kiev! Old Trafford’s never an easy place to visit and Saturday will not be an exception.

With Laurent and Hugo both missing the game through injury, we’ve got our own problems on the left hand side hand. Having said that I’m sure the gaffer will go with a similar side to that which finished against Southampton. Dabi will probably come in for Stevie Caldwell who’s suspended, and I think Bernard will fill in with Hugo injured. Much as I’d like to out there, I expect Aaron to play at left-back, so we’ll see if I’ll get the nod for a place on the subs bench.

It was Bolton at Gateshead Stadium on Monday night, and once again we were reduced to ten men, this time after only 14 minutes. Although we went 2-0 up, the early sending-off caught up with us later in the game. We managed to hold on for a 2-2 draw but I’m sure we’d have taken 3 points if it had remained 11 v 11. I had a good time in the North West and it was good to see a few faces from Bolton. I was up against an old mate in Paul Warhurst, he’s a great lad and I was pleased to see he’s well on the road to recovery.

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