keane faces old boss

LONDON - Alex Ferguson will be eager to give his former player Roy Keane another lesson in management when Sunderland visit reigning champions Manchester United in the Premier League tomorrow.

LONDON - Alex Ferguson will be eager to give his former player Roy Keane another lesson in management when Sunderland visit reigning champions Manchester United in the Premier League tomorrow.

Ferguson has lost only two of 25 matches against teams currently managed by his former players at Old Trafford.

Former United midfielder Paul Ince, now Blackburn Rovers' manager, saw his side beaten 5-3 in the League Cup quarterfinal at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

On Sunday, Ferguson also got the better of Mark Hughes, his former striker and boss of Manchester City, in a 1-0 derby win.

Keane now faces the hard task of reviving Sunderland's fortunes on the pitch he graced for 12 seasons as a United midfield general.

Sunderland have slid down the table and into the relegation zone following five defeats in their past six league games and for the first time since he became their manager in August 2006, Keane is coming under pressure.

United are under pressure of a different kind as they seek to build on last weekend's win.

They are third in the table, six points behind leaders Liverpool and five behind Chelsea, but have a game in hand on the top two and defender Rio Ferdinand believes they are well placed to finish the season as champions again.

"You'd love to be leading the league from day one, but it doesn't often happen like that. We're all still confident and believe we can go on a 10 or 20-game unbeaten run," Ferdinand said on Tuesday.

"Our aim now is to make sure we're within touching distance at Christmas so we can kick on next year and reel those teams in."

Liverpool, who went a point clear of Chelsea at the top despite only drawing 0-0 with West Ham United on Monday, make the short trip to Blackburn who have slid down the table after failing to win for nine league games.

Chelsea, beaten 2-1 at home by Arsenal on Sunday, visit improving Bolton Wanderers, whose emphatic 4-1 win at Sunderland on Saturday was their fourth victory in five matches.

Fourth-placed Arsenal, whose youngsters were beaten 2-0 by Championship (second division) Burnley in the League Cup on Tuesday, will be back to full strength for the visit of Wigan Athletic. - Reuters

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