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Ferguson's excited about Rooney

Sir Alex Ferguson is tipping Wayne Rooney to hit the goal trail once more after finally ending a long wait to find the net in open play.

Ferguson is sweating on Rooney's fitness ahead of Manchester United's eagerly-anticipated FA Cup tie with Liverpool at Old Trafford tomorrow.

After missing Tuesday's win over Stoke with an ankle injury, Ferguson is keen to have Rooney back as United look to record a victory which could end Roy Hodgson's Anfield reign.

And, having scored his first goal in open play since March when he netted the opener at West Brom last Saturday, Ferguson feels Rooney can now find his old form on a more consistent basis.

"Wayne was buzzing last week. That is why I am keen to have him in the team and why I will give him every chance to be fit.

"Many times Wayne has gone on good runs. He'd score five in a row and then maybe go three or four without scoring.

"Last year he was far more consistent and far more potent in his finishing. Hopefully last week's goal brings that back again."

Ferguson's quest for a sixth FA Cup - and his first since 2004 - pales into insignificance alongside Liverpool's troubles.

Not for almost 40 years have the north-west giants collided with one quite so obviously inferior.

Yet the same comments could have been made about United's home encounter with a Leeds side then trapped in League One at the same stage of last season's competition, and the Yorkshire side were the ones who ended the day victorious.

It is not an experience Ferguson wants to repeat.

"It is the first time I had lost a third round tie since I came to the club and it didn't sit well with me," said Ferguson.

"I did not enjoy it and was sick for a few days afterwards."

Indeed, the only positive lasting memory for United from that day was the atmosphere, which 9,000 travelling Leeds fans helped to generate.

The same number of Liverpool fans will be in attendance and, for as long as their team remains competitive, Ferguson knows they will make it another white-hot occasion.

"Nine thousand in one end definitely generates a better atmosphere," he said.

"Even last year when Leeds came it was fantastic."