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Preview: United calling on Rooney and RVP to shoot down Swans

The strikers are beginning to click through the gears.

United celebrate after Wayne Rooney's goal against Sunderland.
United celebrate after Wayne Rooney's goal against Sunderland.
Image: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

THOUGHTS OF A Manchester United return for Cristiano Ronaldo, for one night only perhaps, will be shelved for the festive period as a vital stretch of games await.

United travel to Wales this afternoon to take on Michael Laudrup’s Swansea and know a win is a prerequisite.

Manchester City stole in for another late three points against Reading and United’s lead has been cut in half.

Home games against Newcastle and West Brom follow today’s match and Alex Ferguson is aware of the significance the next three games hold.

“If we are top of the league on New Year’s Day we know fine well, and so does everyone else, that we are going to be in the ball park at the end of the season,” said Ferguson.

Captain’s call

With Jonny Evans penning a new contract midweek, the Red Devils also expect to have club captain Nemanja Vidic back in the squad for the 1:30pm kick-off at the Liberty Stadium.

Ferguson has described the Serbian international as ‘a penalty box defender’ and his combative nature may arrest the frailties shown by United ever since he wrenched his knee away to Basel in last season’s Champions League.

Ferguson also lamented his side’s inability to turn their utter dominance over Sunderland into goals last weekend but he will be pleased with the burgeoning partnership between Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.

The duo have scored 24 goals between them in all competitions, with Mexican striker Javier Hernandez proving a more than effective substitute.

Fortress no more

Swansea came across the Norwich juggernaut last weekend and, despite another impressive outing from Spanish forward Michu, lost 4-3.

While the Swans have been excellent in attack in many Premier League matches this season, they have leaked goals at regular intervals.

Laudrup will be delighted, then, with the news that Dutch goalkeeper Michael Vorm is ready to return to action.

The Liberty Stadium was a happy hunting ground for the Welsh side last season, with wins over Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool, but they have won just three from nine so far this season.

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Patrick McCarry

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