EPL preview: Will Ferguson's absence affect Manchester derby?
Come Sunday, we will witness the first Manchester derby in the post-Alex Ferguson era.
So what should we expect on Super Sunday? Will City find its lost touch or will Wayne Rooney come good for United.
As new boss David Moyes prepares to take the Premier League champions to the Etihad stadium to play last season's runners- up, Alex Ferguson's comments about Rooney’s form, released on Friday, have ensured the headlines have come from the directors' box and not the dugout.
"Wayne's performance was fantastic, I was pleased to see that," the 71-year-old Ferguson told the club's in-house TV station.
"He's got his energy back -- the determination, his purpose to attack players, was all very encouraging to me.
"Being a director, I'm delighted to see that. He's back to what we always remember him as."
Rooney scored two goals and created another in a superb performance in Europe and having also netted a free kick in last weekend's 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the league, the 27-year-old is heading into the derby on a high.
Image: Manchester United manager David Moyes (left) and Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini
Photographs: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
'In Van Persie and Rooney you have forwards who can win you games'
"It's great to have him in that form -- he can be untouchable when he's like that," teammate Michael Carrick told the club's website (www.manutd.com)
"We won at the weekend, and on Tuesday we took it to another level and improved again. Hopefully, we can do it again on Sunday. The performance will breed confidence, and we'll have to do it all again on Sunday."
The goals against Leverkusen brought Rooney's tally at the club to 200 in 406 appearances, leaving him fourth on United's all-time leading scorers' list behind Bobby Charlton (249), Denis Law (237) and Jack Rowley (211).
Restored to his preferred striker's role after being sometimes deployed by Ferguson in midfield, Rooney adds another attacking threat to that of Robin van Persie, who was top scorer in the Premier League last season with 26 goals.
"We will have a fantastic chance (of success) because in Van Persie and Rooney, you have forwards who can win you games," said Ferguson.
Image: Manchester United's Robin van Persie (right) and Marouane Fellaini warm up during a training session
Photographs: Phil Noble/Reuters
'Even without Fergie they are still Manchester United'
Even though Ferguson's comments could easily sound like a manager giving his pre-match briefing, it is Moyes who will need to concoct a plan to beat City, who received their own boost from their European exploits in a 3-0 win at Viktoria Plzen.
Manuel Pellegrini's side may have a good recent record against United, having picked up 10 points to their rivals' seven in the last three seasons, but their figures against Moyes himself are less encouraging.
In the past four seasons, City beat Moyes's Everton just once in eight meetings, with the Scot leading his former team to six wins.
"It was always tough for us to beat Everton when David Moyes was there," City defender Pablo Zabaleta was quoted as saying in Britain's Daily Express newspaper.
"It's a special game, one in which everyone wants to play and one the fans want to watch and to celebrate. It won't be any different -- even without Fergie they are still Manchester United."
Image: Manchester United's manager David Moyes (left) shares a laugh with teammates during a training session
Photographs: Phil Noble/Reuters