I CAN'T think of any time during my 13 years here as a coach that a trip to Manchester United has been anything else but a very difficult proposition. I thought last season's performance was good, it was the only time last season we played with five in midfield and I thought we coped well, restricting them to minimal chances. That was a major plus.
You have to be aware of the attacking options they have because if you play too open a game they are a side that can hurt you with the quality they have. I'd like to think with the run we're on and the start we've had that we can go there and get something from the game.
Perhaps in the past when they've had a lot of games and they've started well they've been inclined to rest a couple of players and change a few names around.
at this particular moment I'm sure united will be keen to get as many points on the board as possible
I'd expect them to go 4-4-2. There's a fella up front who is making a bit of a name for himself - can't remember his name - and we first saw him at White Hart Lane a few seasons ago when he scored a cracking goal for Everton in the FA Youth Cup semi-final.
Rooney and Van Nistelrooy are an obvious threat, Scholes and Fletcher has played a few games this season and Smith might come into central midfield with Keane out. They have a massive squad and I don't think there will be too many surprises.
Van der Sar has been a big signing for them and I just think the timing was right on that one. He's a world-class keeper, no doubts about it. United had experienced a few problems with goalkeepers and that's no surprise when you've had someone like Schmeichel over so many years, it's so hard to fill those boots and the Old Trafford stage is a real pressure one to play in.
Chris Hughton's regular assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday...