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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 5 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 14, 2009

Hulse planning another Ram raid on United

Striker Rob Hulse is convinced Derby can end Sir Alex Ferguson's dream of Manchester United winning an unprecedented five trophies this season.

The World Club champions are in the final of the Carling Cup, and are firmly in the hunt for Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup honours.

But ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Derby at Pride Park, memories are likely to be fresh of United's last visit there just 40 days ago.

On that occasion, the Rams stunned United by winning the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final courtesy of a superb strike from Kris Commons.

Although beaten 4-2 in the return at Old Trafford, losing 4-3 on aggregate, Derby have proven they have what it takes to upset the odds.

Hulse, on-song since the arrival of new manager Nigel Clough with five goals in his last five appearances, said: "I don't see why lightning can't strike twice in the same place.

"Granted, they're the best team in the world, but at the end of the day it's 11 versus 11. Obviously, we know it is going to be tough, but we have been on a good run of form of late.

"We also surprised them the last time at Pride Park, so you never know, it might happen again. Even at Old Trafford we showed good character because at three down after half an hour we could have fallen apart.

"But we managed to pull two goals back and had they come 10 minutes earlier, we would probably have made more of a game of it. Because of those two performances I don't think anyone will go into the game scared or in awe of them.

"We have got nothing to lose, we are the underdogs and hopefully we will go out and give the fans something to cheer.''

The Championship side have at least managed something 13 Premier League clubs have failed to do stretching back to November, and that is score a goal against United.

Tomasz Kuszczak and Ben Foster were between the posts over the two legs of the Carling Cup, rather than the hero of United's remarkable league run to date in Edwin van der Sar.

Whoever Ferguson opts for as his number one tomorrow, Hulse feels the fact Derby have scored three goals against them in two games will serve as an inspiration.

"They are a good side, well organised, and it is a great thing they have done,'' said Hulse on United's clean-sheet record. "But I don't think we'll be going out there with that in our heads when we walk out tomorrow.

"If it is then we might as well not turn up because that would be defeatist from the word go. But whoever is in goal, we know we're not going to be in for an easy afternoon.

"Although it's funny we're one of the very few teams to score against United on their recent run. Kris Commons scored with a great strike at our place, and we also defended well that night.

"Giles Barnes then scored two at Old Trafford, so we have caused them a little bit of trouble.''

On a professional level, Hulse would prefer to play against the strongest side Ferguson can muster.

"As a footballer, you want to play against the best players and pit you wits against them,'' insisted Hulse. "I certainly won't be disappointed if I do see their best side out there.

"But then again, that is Sir Alex's job to put out whatever team he thinks is going to win the game.''

The Rams are without the suspended Jay McEveley, whilst Luke Varney is sidelined with a groin strain.

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