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Friday, 28 January, 2000, 19:17 GMT
United eye up top spot

brian deane and phil neville Middlesbrough defeated United in last season's fixture


Man United could return to the top of the table if they defeat Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Strong challenges from Arsenal and Leeds make every point vital, though the Teesiders will be looking for a repeat of last season's fixture when Boro won 2-3.

United's Dennis Irwin said: "It will be a tough match for us, and we had a tough match against them last year when they beat us at Old Trafford.

"But we've got to get back into our stride now."

Paul Scholes returns to United's squad after coming through a mid-week reserves game.

For Boro, Brian Deane and Christian Ziege are aiming to be fit. Paul Gascoigne is out with flu.

Robbie Mustoe, Steve Vickers and Phil Stamp are also missing for the visitors.

The match will be watched by another record Premiership crowd after 3,000 more seats were made available in the redeveloped East Stand.

A crowd of 58,293 saw Monday's game against Arsenal, and the attendance on Saturday is expected to break the 60,000 barrier.

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