English League 2

Rochdale v AFC Wimbledon preview

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Fri, 04 Jan 2013 11:18:00

Joe Cole could make his West Ham United debut in his second spell at the club when they take on Manchester United in the FA Cup on Saturday evening.

The midfielder has returned to Upton Park, where he began his career, on an 18-month contract which was confirmed on Friday morning.

But West Ham will still be without injured on-loan striker Andy Carroll and so Carlton Cole is likely to continue in attack.

Mohamed Diame also remains sidelined through injury but James Collins and Kevin Nolan can return after suspension.

Manchester United are set for changes and it is quite conceivable Sir Alex Ferguson could select a completely different starting line-up to the one he picked at Wigan Athletic.

Wayne Rooney will definitely be absent after being ruled out for another two weeks due to the knee injury he sustained at Swansea City on 22nd December.

Darren Fletcher could come into the team in midfield as he has not started a game since 1st December after being involved in three of the previous four.

Shinji Kagawa needs additional match practice after his knee injury, while Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are also searching for full fitness.

Rochdale boss John Coleman has a decision to make at centre-back.

Ryan Edward has returned to Blackburn at the end of his loan spell having started 25 of Dale's 26 league encounters this year and appeared as a substitute in the other.

Skipper Peter Cavanagh could slip back from midfield and into the heart of defence, while youngster Sam Minihan may come in from the cold having not featured this season.

Coleman would have more problems at the back if the yellow card amnesty had not come into effect before Joe Rafferty's fifth booking of the season in the 2-1 home defeat to Rotherham on New Year's Day.

Rafferty has been booked in each of his last four appearances.

Midfielder Reece Gray continues his rehabilitation from a broken leg.

Will Antwi returns to the AFC Wimbledon squad for the trip to Rochdale.

The defender missed the dramatic 3-2 New Year's Day win over Torquay through suspension after collecting five bookings.

Boss Neal Ardley must decide whether to restore Antwi to his back four or stick with Pim Balkestein and Mat Mitchel-King as his centre-half pairing.

Balkestein and Mitchel-King had not previously started a match together since August as both have struggled with injuries this season.

Full-back Jim Fenlon will be assessed after missing out at Torquay through illness while Luke Moore was restricted to a substitute role due to a bug so he could start.

Fellow strikers Charlie Strutton (knee) and Byron Harrison (back) are likely to miss out again.

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