PRESTON (Sporting Alert) — Wayne Rooney starts as a forward tonight for Manchester United as the Red Devils meet Preston North End in the 5th round of the FA Cup on Monday night.
Rooney, who has been playing in midfield for most of this season, will start alongside Radamel Falcao in the attack for the first time this year. Follow Live Score Updates
“You have to look maybe it’s true (about Rooney playing as a striker). Of course,” Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal told BBC Sport Match Of The Day.
He added about facing Preston: “We know that in advance we have to look to ourselves about also the quality from the opponents and make decisions.
“They can always make problems for us with the long balls and tall guys and we don’t have tall guys. Maybe that’s a problem. Also set plays maybe they have scored goals from that. So it’s not so easy.”
Marouane Fellaini, Daley Blind, Angel di Maria and Ander Herrera all start as well for United, who are without striker Robin van Persie, who is out injured.
David De Gea remains in goal, with Victor Valdes staying on the bench, while Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw in the backline.
Paul Gallagher, the FA Cup top scorer with five goals, is among the starters tonight for Preston, with Kevin Davies, Joe Garner, Neil Kilkenny and Chris Humphrey all starting the game as well.
Speaking to BBC Sport Preston boss Simon Grayson said: “We want to be solid but will keep two up front with Joe Garner and Kevin Davies to try and affect them.
“The atmosphere will play a massive part for us, it probably won’t affect Manchester United because they have played in front of big crowds before, but it will give our lads a real lift.
“We have a tough task, they have some world class players but if we give it a go and get a bit of luck you never know.”
Manchester United will be hoping for a win and join fellow English Premier League sides, Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa and West Brom in the quarterfinals.
The winner of tonight’s game will entertain holder Arsenal in the quarterfinals.
Preston: Stuckmann, Clarke, Huntington, Wright, Laird, Humphrey, Welsh, Kilkenny, Gallagher, K. Davies, Garner. Subs: Hudson, Wiseman, Reid, King, Robinson, Brownhill, Ebanks-Blake.
Man Utd: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw, Blind, Herrera, Rooney, Fellaini, Di Maria, Falcao. Subs: Valdes, Evans, McNair, Januzaj, Mata, Young, Wilson