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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov, 6, 2006

Carling Cup: Man Utd aim to avoid Southend slip-up

LONDON, Nov 6 (Reuters) - League Cup holders Manchester United will be wary of underestimating lower league opponents when they face second division strugglers Southend United at Roots Hall in the fourth round on Tuesday.

The Premier League leaders, with their customary mix of first-team, fringe and youth players, squeezed past third division Crewe Alexandra in the last round thanks to a late goal in extra time.

Southend knocked out Leeds United in the third round but go into the tie in poor form having slumped to the foot of their division after a 12-game winless run.

Sir Alex Ferguson has vowed to field a much stronger side at Roots Hall, with only Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Edwin van der Sar missing the trip.

In the round's two stand-out ties on Wednesday, Chelsea host Aston Villa and Everton welcome Arsenal to Goodison Park.

Jose Mourinho fielded a strong side that overcame Blackburn Rovers away and is likely to stick to the same policy to face Martin O'Neill's Villa, who drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge in the league in late September.

Villa will be roared on by a large midweek following with American chairman Randy Lerner footing the bill for 6,000 travelling fans.

In the other all-Premier League tie, Newcastle United, who have slipped into the bottom three in the league, play their third game in six days with a trip to Watford on Tuesday.

Birmingham City meet seven-times winners Liverpool in a repeat of the 2001 final which the Merseyside club won after a penalty shootout while three-times winner Tottenham Hotspur are at home to third division Port Vale.

Third tier Chesterfield, conquerors of West Ham United and Manchester City in previous rounds, host another struggling Premier League side in the shape of Charlton Athletic.

A fourth division side is guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals with Notts County hosting Wycombe Wanderers.

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