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Posted on 2 February 2007  - 12:00

Chris Hughton's assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, Manchester United at the Lane on Sunday.

Chris Hughton's assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, Manchester United at the Lane on Sunday.

SUNDAY represents a real challenge and sometimes it's the challenge you want following a disappointment like we experienced against Arsenal this week.

It's a high-profile game, another full house, live on television and possibly that's what we need at this stage.

United are one team who always try and win their games and play the same whether it's home or away. At home they have the benefit of a massive home crowd behind them but away from home, generally they'll play in exactly the same way.

They'll line-up in a 4-4-2 and they've used the system in different ways, for instance, at Arsenal, they used Wayne Rooney in a wider position and Ryan Giggs more centrally off the front. That's how highly they rate Giggs. The quality up front is there for all to see with Rooney, Henrk Larsson, a wonderful signing, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, back to full fitness and always capable of scoring goals.

At the back it hasn't changed too much and one consistent pairing centrally is Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, who has done very well. Gary Neville is consistent as ever while in the left-back position there have been a few changes with Patrice Evra, who has really come on, and Gabriel Heinze both involved.

I would think it will be exciting for Michael Carrick coming back to the Lane and certainly from the point of view of players and staff, he was very well thought of here and everyone wished him well when he moved on. Paul Scholes is as good as anyone around, John O'Shea is in there sometimes but I would expect it to be Carrick and Scholes with Giggs and Ronaldo wide. Ronaldo is arguably as good as anyone in the world at the moment, a fantastic all-round player.

Our record at home has been good this season and we have to grasp hold of that. No team has come to the Lane and won easily and even in the defeats, we've played well - Newcastle was as well as we've played for some time, we just didn't score the goals.

We also need to get back to winning ways in regards of climbing the league table, so that's our target on Sunday.