Group B Kick-off 19-45 (BST)
Despite a lengthy injury list, Alex Ferguson is confident Manchester United’s impressive home form will continue as they welcome CSKA Moscow to Old Trafford looking to reach the last 16.
Wayne Rooney is expected to lead the attack following the birth of his daughter on Monday.
“You have to be aware that football can throw clangers into the works, but if we win we can consolidate our position at the top of the group,” said Ferguson.
“We’re at home, our home form’s been very good and hopefully will continue that way. They have a new coach so I imagine he’ll want to win at Old Trafford both to improve his position and boost his reputation. It’s a prestige game for them and so it’ll be very difficult.
United will be without Owen Hargreaves, Ji-Sung Park, Ryan Giggs, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Daniel Welbeck, but Ferguson is confident that he has adequate cover throughout the squad.
“We’re very fortunate to have players like Brown and Evans to bring in – their performance on Saturday highlighted that. They’re top defenders. Most people now recognise Darren Fletcher as a big-game player, but we’ve known for quite a while. He’s getting an acceptance from people of how important he is to us. He’s been missing in several big games recently and it’s great to have the boy back.”
CSKA coach Leonid Slutski faces a tough start to his Champions League career since replacing Juande Ramos last week.
“This is a good opportunity to see the team play on such a big stage,” said Slutski. “We won’t be treating the game any differently though because, with respect to the opposition, CSKA also have very capable players.
“We intend to attack but I’m still getting to know the team which makes the task doubly difficult. We’re in a difficult situation in our league, but we’ve still got a chance in the Champions League.
“To help prepare we looked at Manchester United’s game against Blackburn and our last match against United. We’ve been working on ironing out any mistakes we made.”