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Oval fans are in for a treat says Solskjaer

By Steven Beacom

The 14,000 fans who will pack in to the Oval tonight are in for a treat according to Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Indeed the man, who scored that never to be forgotten Champions League winner in 1999, is predicting that United's new signings Nani and Anderson, on show against Glentoran, will become massive Old Trafford stars of the future.

While Sir Alex Ferguson will not be attending the glamour match to mark Glentoran's 125th anniversary, the Scot is sending over a strong squad to Belfast.

Glens officials were sweating on any last minute withdrawals which often happen ahead of friendlies, but Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, John O'Shea and Nemanja Vidic were expected to be on the plane from Manchester this morning with hopes high that star man Cristiano Ronaldo would also be on the flight.

And then of course there will be two of United's recruits - Portugal star Nani and Brazilian Anderson.

For thousands of United fans in Northern Ireland it will be their first chance to see these two talented youngsters.

Solskjaer, who knows what it takes to be a success at United, believes the new kids on the block have the ability to shine.

"It is an exciting time at United, especially with the new signings coming in," said the striker.

"Players like Nani and Anderson have great talent. Obviously it is going to take them time to settle but at times this season you will see great things from them.

"I believe they can be big stars for the club in the future."

If that prediction comes true, those at the Oval tonight can effectively say they were there when it all started.

Glentoran manager Alan McDonald will use every member of his squad this evening.

Michael Dougherty is expected to start in goal in place of the injured Elliott Morris.

Expect Dougherty to be a busy man.

The home defence is likely to be overworked as well, but veteran Mark Glendinning is relishing the challenge.

"Over here in the Irish League we think we are good players, but these guys are true superstars and the people who don't normally get the chance to see Premiership matches will want them to put on a show," said the 37-year-old.

"I have been playing football for 22 years and never had the chance to come up against players like this before, so it will be great for me. I signed for Glentoran a year or two after the tournaments involving Liverpool, Benfica and Feyenoord finished, so I never got to play against any of those teams.

"Playing against Manchester United will be one of the biggest moments of my career. I wasn't sure if I would get the chance to play in this match, but my knee felt good on Saturday and I just hope that the chance doesn't pass me by now."

Although the multi-millionaire superstars from Old Trafford will command the respect of the Glentoran team, Glendinning insists that he and his team mates won't be suffering any inferiority complex. The former Glenavon ace added: " It is a once in a lifetime chance to play against these players and for us as well it is a chance to show what we can do. It is a match to be enjoyed and that is what we will be intending to do."

Kick-off is 7.45pm. The advice is get there early.

Belfast Telegraph


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