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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 23, 2007

Kuszczak on standby, Utd wait on Van Der Sar

Tomasz Kuszczak could find himself in the firing line for Manchester United on Sunday as Sir Alex Ferguson awaits news of a fitness report on Edwin van der Sar.

The veteran Dutchman failed to play any part in his country's friendly defeat to Switzerland in Geneva last night after injuring his left foot in a training ground collision with Dirk Kuyt.

While the damage was not serious enough to force Van der Sar into an immediate flight back to the north west, he must be a major doubt for Spurs' visit to Old Trafford, when United will be looking to get their Premier League title defence up and running after a stuttering start which has seen them collect just two points from their opening three games.

If Van der Sar does not make it, Kuszczak will step in for only his seventh league start since arriving from West Brom at the start of last term.

The Poland international at least has the benefit of some recent match practice, having completed the second half of his country's friendly draw with England's Euro 2008 qualifying rivals Russia in Moscow on Wednesday.

However, with fitness concerns surrounding so many key players, including Rio Ferdinand, who suffered a minor knock on England duty, a change of keeper is not what Ferguson would have wanted ahead of such a key game in his side's season.

Ironically, it was against Spurs that Van der Sar broke his nose last season in a collision with Robbie Keane, an injury that resulted in John O'Shea taking over in goal for the final few minutes of a superb 4-0 triumph.

Given the way his side have started the campaign, Ferguson would probably settle for half that winning margin this week.

There have been contrasting reports of Louis Saha's likely availability after a long-term knee injury and if the Frenchman is not fit, Ferguson would effectively be reliant on the squad who performed creditably at Manchester City last weekend but ultimately lost because of a repeated failure to take chances.

So far, Paul Scholes is the only United player to find the net this term, putting his side in front at Portsmouth, only for the Red Devils to get pegged back in a game which saw Cristiano Ronaldo sent off for aiming a head butt at Richard Hughes.

Sunday's encounter represents the second game of Ronaldo's three-match ban so, with Wayne Rooney also missing, Scholes will once again be a key figure in United's quest for an eagerly-awaited first win.

Given the week they have endured, Tottenham would appear to be perfect opponents.

Yet, no matter who is lined up against them, Scholes is confident United have a squad that will eventually gel into a winning unit.

'We have signed four new players in the summer and it is just going to take a little bit of time for them to settle,' he told MUTV.

'I know supporters expect everyone to gel straightaway but it is not that simple.

'They are coming to a new club, finding new houses and meeting new people, which cannot be the easiest thing in the world.

'You only have to look at someone like Didier Drogba. It took him a year to settle in at Chelsea but since then he has been fantastic. And there are many more examples like that.'

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