x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Beating United is a tall order for Rovers

Back to basics for Manchester United tonight, back in time for a figure who Sir Alex Ferguson once rather heatedly branded a "big-time Charlie".

Back to basics for Manchester United tonight, back in time for a figure who Sir Alex Ferguson once rather heatedly branded a "big-time Charlie". The thought-provoking Paul Ince will seek some much-needed respite from recent derailments in the English Premier League when his Blackburn Rovers side travel to United in the quarter- finals of the League Cup. Ince won this competition under Ferguson when it was high on United's list of priorities in the early 1990s, a period of time when English football's Champions League-chasing days of the modern era were a fanciful notion.

The "Guv'nor" was once Lord of the Manor at Old Trafford, until he fled England to join Inter Milan, and washed up at United in a Liverpool shirt. Ince donning such a jersey was like red to a bull for Ferguson. It has been much discussed and even though time has apparently mended a thorny relationship, it remains a curious topic among the many anecdotes to have built towards Ferguson's legend over the past 22 years.

Ince has followed Ferguson into management, but has recently found it all a perplexing business. He has been making statements about feeling no pressure, but there are suggestions that the Blackburn owners are due to stage some type of emergency meeting to discuss the club's situation in the Premier League. The Rovers have not won any of their past nine matches in the league. It is the club's worst sequence of results in 12 years.

Harry Redknapp was an FA Cup winner with Portsmouth in May, and should manage to steer Tottenham Hotspur to a win over Watford in tonight's other quarter-final. Redknapp suffered his first loss as the manager of Tottenham in losing to Everton. dkane@thenational.ae