Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Healy's hoping for dream return

Goal King David targeting an Old Trafford shocker

David Healy regards Man United as the best team in the top flight

It may not be David Healy's birthday but he is hoping for many happy returns at Old Trafford tonight.

Northern Ireland star Healy will take on Manchester United for the first time since leaving the Red Devils for Preston in 2001.

Whether or not he starts is up to Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez, but one would imagine that Healy would play at some stage.

The man from Killyleagh, who started his career at the Theatre of Dreams, can't wait although he admits Fulham are in for their biggest test of the campaign so far, especially with Wayne Rooney back from injury for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

"It's fantastic to be going back to Old Trafford. It's the best stadium in England and is well labelled as the Theatre of Dreams," said Healy.

"I was fortunate to play there for Manchester United in the Premier League and would love the opportunity to face them.

"I'll look forward to seeing old friends, but first and foremost we are going there with a job to do.

"Obviously the dream scenario would be an away win.

"To me United are the best team in the Premier League and we are in for our toughest match of the season.

"We were very close to getting draws at Arsenal and Liverpool, and collected a point at Chelsea, so we can go to Old Trafford in positive mood, but we know how good they are.

"And for our game they have Wayne Rooney back. He'll be keen to deliver a big performance on his return.

"He's a brilliant footballer but United have so many.

"I'm sure though Lawrie will have ideas to try to combat them."

Former Northern Ireland boss Sanchez loves these fixtures, when no one expects his sides to do anything, bar take a hiding - just like his days as a Wimbledon player when he was a victor at Old Trafford.

"I was lucky enough as a player to walk out of there a couple of times as a winner, so I know what it's like," said Sanchez.

"I'm looking forward to going there for the first time as a Premier League manager and I'm looking for us to have a go."

The last time Sanchez was at Old Trafford was in March 2005 when Northern Ireland lost 4-0 to a Rooney inspired England in a World Cup qualifier.

Healy played in that game as did his international team-mates Aaron Hughes, Chris Baird and Steve Davis, all of whom are expected to start against Cristiano Ronaldo and co.

United, of course, are chasing Premier League leaders Arsenal, while Fulham are hoping to move clear of the relegation battle.

A home win is on the cards, although king of shocks Sanchez will fancy upsetting the odds.

He'll need a lot of help from Healy to do it.

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