Man Utd v Aston Villa

Manchester United duo Rio Ferdinand and Rafael are expected to return from injury, but Michael Carrick continues to struggle with an ankle problem.Edwin van der Sar, Patrice Evra, and Nemanja Vidic are also expected to return to the starting line-up after sitting out the trip to Southampton.

Aston Villa will recall record signing Darren Bent, who was ineligible for their FA Cup win over Blackburn Rovers.

Nathan Baker is suspended following his red card against Rovers.

Manchester United

Doubtful: Carrick (ankle), Ferdinand (groin), Rafael (concussion)

Injured/unavailable: Hargreaves (hamstring), Park (fatigue), Valencia (ankle)

Aston Villa

Suspended: Baker (three matches)

Doubtful: Makoun (thigh)

MATCH PREVIEW

Manchester United's comeback kids entertain an Aston Villa side enjoying their own renaissance, as Sir Alex Ferguson's table toppers look to extend their unbeaten start to the season to a remarkable 24 matches.

When you are down there in the Premier League it's not easy to get out of it. But two victories can make a difference and they are getting their squad back after injuries

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson

Hot on the heels of two stunning comebacks in under a week, United will be wary of pushing their luck against the side who arguably came closest to inflicting their first Premier League defeat of the season in November's reverse fixture, when Federico Macheda and Nemanja Vidic struck in the final nine minutes to rescue an unlikely point.

A stunned Villa would go on to lose six of their next eight games in the league, and are only now beginning to show signs of recovery. They travel to Old Trafford looking for a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions, their best run of form since Houllier took charge in September.

A result for United would see them extend their unbeaten record to an incredible 29 Premier League fixtures dating back to April 2010, matching their best-ever top-flight run set between December 1998 and October 1999.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

• Aston Villa have won only once in 28 games against Man Utd. Their 1-0 win at Old Trafford in last season's corresponding fixture was their first against United in 25 matches (all competitions).

• In league games only, United have lost just one of their last 30 meetings with Villa (W20, D9, L1).

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Manchester United

• Unbeaten United are four points down on Arsenal's 'invincible' squad of 2003/04. United have 14 wins and nine draws from 23 games, compared with the Gunners' 16 wins and seven draws.

• Manchester United have won 11 of their 12 Premier League matches at Old Trafford this season, including the last eight.

• Dimitar Berbatov has scored 19 league goals this season - his best-ever return in a Premier League season.

Aston Villa

• Villa have dropped 14 points from winning positions in the league this season.

• As Liverpool manager, Houllier achieved the rare feat of five successive victories over United between 2000 and 2002. Only Arsene Wenger (9) has won more Premier League matches as a manager against Ferguson than Houllier (5).

• If selected, goalkeeper Brad Friedel will become the oldest player in the club's history at 39 years and 259 days, two days older than previous record holder Ernie Callaghan when he played against Grimsby Town in April 1947.

LEADING GOALSCORERS

Manchester United

Berbatov: 20 goals (19 league); Hernandez: 11 goals (8 league)

Aston Villa

Bent: 12 goals* (9 league); Downing: 6 goals (5 league); Young: 6 goals (4 league); Heskey: 6 goals (3 league)

* Bent scored 11 goals (8 league) for Sunderland

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Chris Foy

Assistant referees: Dean Mohareb & Glenn Turner

Fourth official: Stuart Attwell

LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS

Manchester United (W3-2 v Blackpool, a): Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva (Anderson 80), Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Scholes, Fletcher, Gibson (Giggs 46), Nani, Berbatov, Rooney (Hernandez 66). Subs not used: Lindegaard, Owen, Fabio Da Silva, Evans.

Aston Villa (W2-1 v Wigan, a): Friedel, Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Baker, Makoun (Petrov 57), Reo-Coker, Downing, Agbonlahor (Albrighton 77), Bent, Ashley Young (Herd 88). Subs not used: Marshall, Pires, Delfouneso, Heskey.

Source: BBC Sport