| 14.5°C Dublin

Evans can't wait to ease Cup heartache

Jonny Evans is eager to get stuck into Manchester City as Manchester United recover from the hammer blow of getting knocked out of the FA Cup by Leeds United on Sunday.

Evans has finally returned to action after almost two months out of action as a result of a calf problem picked up on international duty with Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately for Evans, who celebrated his 22nd birthday at the weekend, the present he really wanted never arrived as United were bundled out of the FA Cup 1-0 by Simon Grayson's progressive run-away League One leaders.

If there is a minor consolation for the Red Devils, it is they do not have any time to mope, with City on the horizon in the first leg of an eagerly-awaited Carling Cup semi-final.

"We are right in the middle of a really busy time of the season," Evans said. "But as a player it is one you really enjoy because there are lots of big games.

"As well as the league, we have got two big Carling Cup matches against Manchester City. It is an exciting time. Now I just want to play as big a part as I possibly can."

Evans' lack of match practice may count against him when Alex Ferguson sits down to pick his side.


However, much will depend on the availability of Nemanja Vidic, whose future has been the subject of so much speculation recently, even though he has publicly stated his willingness to sign a new Red Devils contract.

Given he withdrew from Sunday's game after the warm-up and Ferguson appeared at a loss to explain why, it was hardly a surprise Vidic should find himself in the middle of several conspiracy theories.

Yet the word out of the United camp is that the Serbian international tweaked a nerve, hence his absence from the Red Devils defence at the weekend.

Ferguson has promised changes, so Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs should start, and possibly also Paul Scholes if the veteran midfielder has overcome a hip complaint.

Senegal-born striker Mame Diouf is also available and even though Ferguson has declared an intention to leave his newest recruit out of such a big game, such was United's dire performance at the weekend, and so impressive has the 22-year-old been in training since his arrival from Molde, that Ferguson might be tempted to stick him on the bench.