ALEX Ferguson insists he has the numbers to cope ahead of the first Manchester derby of the season.
In addition, Ferguson has claimed the game will come too soon for Japan forward Shinji Kagawa and that skipper Nemanja Vidic is unwilling to risk another setback after spending virtually 12 months on the sidelines with major knee problems.
Yet Ferguson does not view the absences as a handicap, more of a predictable inconvenience ahead of a big game.
"I know we have some injury problems but we are not short of a squad," Ferguson told MUTV.
"I have plenty of experience to bring in. I rested Darren Fletcher against Cluj on Wednesday and just brought him on for the last 10 minutes.
"That is what big squads allow you to do.
"You don't have every player every week. Our supporters must recognise that.
"Over the years we have had injury situations. Every club gets them.
"Normally you work on 10% of your squad being out every week with some sort of injury.
"That is the situation we are in at the moment but it is not desperate by any means."
The Vidic situation is an interesting one.
Ferguson has repeatedly stated the Serbian's desire not to push himself. However, he is training and his presence could prove to be the answer as Ferguson tries to find a solution for his side's defensive frailties that risk being exposed by a City outing boasting some obvious dangers in the air, not least Vincent Kompany, who scored the winner last season from the kind of set piece United are having nightmares with.
In addition, with Aleksandar Kolarov ruled out and Gael Clichy doubtful, Antonio Valencia could be a potent weapon, with both Gary Neville and Bryan Robson pointing out in the build-up that the South American's absence could have a negative effect on the outcome from a United perspective.
And for the Red Devils, victory is important, not only to open up a six-point lead on the most obvious threat to their Premier League title hopes, but to end a cycle of depressing results against their neighbours.
"The fact City have emerged over the last couple of years, and won the league last season, you know they are going to be our main competitors, so a positive result there would be a big boost," said Ferguson.
And it does seem, that whilst Roberto Mancini is a very different character to Ferguson, he has managed to inject City with the same streak that has made United so hard to beat down the years.
"They are playing similarly to last year," said Ferguson.
"Early season last year they did very well. But as the season progressed they were in the same place they are now.
"They are still scoring late goals, which is a strong trait if you are going to win a championship.
"It shows you that they are not going to give in.
"They are dangerous in the last few minutes of matches, especially Edin Dzeko, when they bring him