Manchester United manager David Moyes is set to ring the changes to his side for the Capital One Cup quarterfinal against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. Moyes has been criticized for the frequent rotation of his lineups since taking charge, but, with the busy festive schedule ahead, he is keen to make full use of his squad.
"We have a squad of players who I believe can all play in any game, so I’ll see who I think is ready," he said in his pre-match press conference, according to Manchester United’s official website. "We have a lot of games coming up and we need to use that squad. I’ll look at this game and see who is best suited. But I think we have fielded a strong side in every game we have played.
"There were a few I expected to play [against Villa] but got injured on Saturday before we travelled down. There is nothing fresh and hopefully I won’t find anything fresh."
After starting December by suffering back-to-back home defeats for the first time in 21 years, United have responded with two victories, most recently a comfortable 3-0 win at Aston Villa on Sunday. While the Premier League and Champions League will remain Moyes’s priorities, he will be well aware of the boost his troubled early reign could get by lifting the first major trophy of the season.
In doing so, United will first have to get past a Stoke side that gave them plenty of problems when the two sides met at Old Trafford in October. On that occasion it took two goals in the final 12 minutes for the champions to turn a defeat into a dramatic victory. The task promises to be even tougher at the Britannia Stadium.
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Under former United striker Mark Hughes, Stoke have retained their difficulty to beat at home, losing just one of their eight league games there this season and conceding only five goals in the process. In their last outing at the Britannia, Stoke produced a fine display to beat Chelsea 3-2.
“It was plain for everyone to see last time out at the Britannia against Chelsea that the crowd got behind us,” Hughes said, according to Stoke City’s official website. “They understood they had a big part to play, the crowd really drove us on and the players responded to that.
“We upped our levels, maybe by five or 10 per cent, and there will be occasions against United with the ability they have at their disposal that they will peg us back somewhat and we’ll need help from the fans.
“We’ve got to make sure we stay in the game and cause them problems. We did just that against Chelsea and United will have to play well to match the quality Chelsea showed against us.”
Hughes fielded a strong side in the penalty shootout victory over Birmingham City in the last round and is likely to do likewise on Wednesday. Robert Huth remains unavailable but Matthew Etherington is back in contention.
Michael Carrick, Robin van Persie, Marouane Fellaini, Chris Smalling and Nemanja Vidic all remain out for Manchester United.
Where to watch: The League Cup quarterfinal will kick off at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by beIN Sport, with a live stream available on beIN Sport Play.