Fulham manager Mark Hughes believes Wayne Rooney’s replacements could be just as dangerous as the suspended Manchester United striker.Rooney will start a two-game ban on Saturday, meaning he misses the visit of Hughes and his side, and the Welshman cannot hide the confidence that Rooney’s absence has given him.
However, he admitted that his side would still face plenty of headaches from the likes of Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez.
“I saw Wayne play on Wednesday night and I thought he was outstanding so I am pleased and when he is not available,” Hughes said.
“It is a positive for us but they have a lot of players that can come in and make an impact in his place.”
Hughes, a former United striker himself, has not been over-impressed with the quality of football Sir Alex Ferguson’s side has produced this season, but he recognises a ruthless approach to their recent games that makes them likely Premier League winners.
“I think as the season gets near the business end they are getting stronger and stronger,” Hughes said.
“I think I have been more impressed by them in recent weeks than I have been in all the season before.”
“Once they get to this stage of the season they just understand what has to be done and start going about their business.”
Fulham, after occupying the relegation zone occasionally in the early parts of the season courtesy of a number of injuries to their strikers, have been resurgent since the turn of the year and hope they have the resources to beat a weakened United team.
Defender Aaron Hughes will play despite suffering a head injury in the game against Blackpool at the weekend – he had suffered headaches after game but has recovered.
Midfielder Damien Duff is Hughes’ only doubt as he has been complaining of an Achilles tendon injury that has prevented him from training.
But overall Hughes believes that, with a virtually fully fit squad, his players should have no fear of visiting Old Trafford.
“I do not anticipate for one moment that it will be too much for my players because we are enjoying what we are doing at the moment and we are very positive that we can go there and get a good result,” Hughes said.
“For us it is about playing well and to the best of our ability and making sure we cause them problems.”