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Wednesday, March 10, 1999 Published at 12:40 GMT

Replace ref for replay - Wilkins

Paul Scholes gets his marching orders in cup quarter final

Former Manchester United and Chelsea star Ray Wilkins says the Football Association should have considered a change of referee for his former sides' FA Cup quarter-final replay.

Ray Wilkins: "There's a lot of tension in these game."
Wilkins' comments came after referee Paul Durkin faced heavy criticism for two sendings-off in Sunday's quarter final between United and Chelsea.

United boss Alex Ferguson felt the Dorset referee had taken too hard a line and the red cards for Paul Scholes and Chelsea's Roberto Di Matteo followed "innocuous" challenges.

Now Wilkins has entered the debate, saying a change of referee may have been appropriate for what will be a highly charged clash.

}He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I've got this vein of thought which tells me that perhaps the referee should be changed for a replay.

"There's lots of tension in these games and he feels tension as well.

"I think we must always remember that."

'What's the fuss?'

United boss Ferguson heightened pressure on Durkin ahead of the replay by claiming the match will be a huge test for the FIFA official.

[ image: Robeto Di Matteo was sent off just before half time on Sunday]
Robeto Di Matteo was sent off just before half time on Sunday
Now Wilkins has fanned the flames, despite efforts by Durkin to avoid a war of words.

He is adamant he was right to give Scholes and Di Matteo their marching orders.

"I really don't want to get involved in all of this," he said after Sunday's goalless draw.

"I've seen the four yellow cards, which led to the sendings-off, on TV and I can't see what all the fuss is about."

Players return

The referee was also at the centre of the furore involving Chelsea's Graeme Le Saux and Liverpool's Robbie Fowler when the pair clashed at Stamford Bridge at the end of last month.

Chelsea and Manchester United, who are both chasing a hat-trick of honours in the Premiership, FA Cup and Europe, have been bolstered by the return of injured and suspended players ahead of Wednesday's game.

Jaap Stam returns for United after a one-match ban at the weekend and Ryan Giggs is back in the squad following a nose operation.

Frank Leboeuf, Dennis Wise and Celestine Babayaro return from suspension for the Blues and Michael Duberry should be fit again after injury.

However, player-coach Gianluca Vialli is still suspended and Dan Petrescu is on international duty with Romania.

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