Pre-season takes a backseat as the reserves bid for silverware
Posted by nickogs20 on July 30, 2008
It’s a big week for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. With his testimonial against Espanyol at Old Trafford just three days away, tonight he attempts to win a trophy in his first competitive match as reserve team manager. What’s more, the opponents in this evening’s Lancashire Senior Cup Final are Liverpool.
The match is technically the 2007/08 LSC Final, after a fixture backlog at the tail-end of last season meant there was no way to fit the game into either team’s schedule before the summer break. Both teams ended 07/08 by lifting silverware (United the Manchester Senior Cup, Liverpool the Premier Reserve League) and will be looking to kick off the new campaign in a similar vein, albeit with a number of different personnel.
Of the side that beat Bolton 2-0 in May to lift the MSC, Michael Barnes, Sean Evans and Chris Eagles have all moved on to pastures new, and there is likely to be a number of other changes. Solskjaer is at something of a disadvantage in that the Milk Cup is currently in progress, depriving him of the services of Federico Macheda amongst others. The Italian’s absence could be crucial, as Danny Welbeck looks likely to miss the game through injury, Dong Fangzhuo is away preparing for the Olympics and Febian Brandy has gone on loan to Swansea, leaving the second string desperately short of options up front. Antonio Bryan looks to be the only available option, and he is yet to appear at all so far this pre-season.
More positively, OGS should have Craig Cathcart, Rodrigo Possebon and Tom Cleverley back from first-team duty, and the starting eleven should be strong everywhere else other than in attack. It’ll need to be, as Liverpool’s second team will pose a serious threat. Gary Ablett’s squad includes a number of the players who triumphed over United in the 2007 Youth Cup Final, complimented by a crop of promising talents from across Europe, several of whom have featured impressively in the U17 or U19 European finals this summer. One big plus for United will be the absence of Liverpool reserves’ star player, Hungarian forward Krisztian Nemeth, who is away on first-team duty.
The game kicks-off at 7.45pm, at the Lancashire FA’s HQ, the County Ground in Leyland. News on how the Reds get on later this evening.