Manchester United preview

Friday 18 October 2002

Steve Finnan and Alain Goma are both fighting to be fit ahead of this Saturday's match against Manchester United.

Goma, who sustained a hamstring injury in the away defeat to Everton, has been receiving constant treatment over the past fortnight. Rightback, Steve Finnan missed out on the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2004 qualification defeat to Switzerland, and his return to first team action for Fulham is thought to be a closer call.

The visitors have injury worries over David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy. The prolific Dutch striker missed out on Holland's 3-0 midweek victory after picking up a hamstring injury.

Roy Keane may be making all the headlines off the field, but on the field Manchester United go to Fulham looking to extend their run of successive League and Cup wins to seven, although those results belie their performances on the field.

United's recent form was typified by their last game against Everton when they failed to penetrate the Merseysiders defence for 86 minutes and then a double from Paul Scholes separated by a Ruud van Nistelrooy penalty gave the Red Devils a flattering 3-0 victory.

Facundo Sava's goal was enough for Fulham to take all three points at home to out-of-form Charlton in their last game, their one victory from the last three outings.

Fulham have won three of their last five Premiership matches and are defended an unbeaten record at Loftus Road.

United are hoping to complete the first half of a fourth consecutive League 'double' over Fulham.

The Londoners gave United one or two scares in their first Premiership meetings, but have not recorded a home League victory over them for 38 years.

So far United's Premiership points tally is mirroring last season's when they finished third. Fulham have 14 points, which is double what they managed by this stage in their first Premiership campaign, twelve months ago.

United need one more win to become the first club to register 250 victories in the Premiership.

The next goal Fulham score will be the 50th in their Premier League history.

Both clubs have been awarded and converted three penalties in Premiership matches this season.

In winning last season's corresponding fixture 2-3, Manchester United completed the 'double' over Fulham on their first top flight visit to Craven Cottage in 33 years. Ryan Giggs stole the headlines with a double. His first came in the fifth minute, just after Fulham had hit the woodwork.

United are seeking a fourth successive League win at Fulham after victories in 1974 (old 2nd Division), 1968 (old 1st Division), and last season.

Fulham's only home win over United in eight corresponding League fixtures since 1962 was 2-1 on 5 September, 1966 in the former Division One.

The Londoners haven't beaten the Red Devils in 15 home and away League and Cup encounters.

No player has ever been sent off in a League fixture between these clubs.

United's biggest win in a League game at Fulham was 0-5 on 26 March, 1960 in the old League - Division One. In the following season, these clubs shared eight goals at Craven Cottage on 10 December, 1960 - again in the former First Division.

The last player to bag a hat trick in League fixtures between these clubs was David Herd. He scored all but one of United's goals in the 4-1 success at Old Trafford on 23 October, 1965 in the old First Division.

When these sides met in the 1974/75 season, they were both in the old Second Division.