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Football: Don't write off United.

Byline: Ian Doyle

DAVID MOYES is wary of a Manchester United backlash as Everton put their increasingly lofty aspirations to the test this afternoon, writes Ian Doyle.

The Goodison side entertain the champions in today's high noon showdown with star turns Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney back in the squad.

But Everton's fine start to the season has propelled them into third place, above Sir Alex Ferguson's side who have endured a stuttering start.

However, Moyes - who is sweating on a number of injuries to his players - believes United's desire to win means they can never be written off, and regards today's game as a barometer of his team's progress.

"Alex Ferguson's teams have a real drive to succeed," said the Everton manager. "Because of that they are used to playing in games that are tough for them both physically and mentally.

They tend to win when a lot of people sometimes write them off.

"We have to try to compete against them and show them we are an improving Everton side, and hopefully a better Everton side than we were last season and can cause them some problems.

"But I don't think United will be coming here thinking Everton are an easy touch and it's an easy place to get a result.

They realise they'll be in for a hard game."

Moyes added: "We have beaten United before so let's try to do it again. But let's not underestimate the challenge.

They have Ronaldo back from suspension, Wayne very close to playing. They'll all be back."

By contrast, Moyes has injury doubts over several players and will make a late decision on goalkeeper Tim Howard's recovery from a dislocated finger with former Cologne goalkeeper Stefan Wessels standing by to make his debut.

Thomas Gravesen has a knee problem but Tim Cahill resumed light jogging this week but is still four to six weeks away from first-team action.

CAPTION(S):

Everton manager David Moyes
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 15, 2007
Words:324
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