Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson says he faces a difficult task in selecting his team for the derby against Manchester City.
United go into the game on Monday 15 points clear of City at the summit of the English Premier League, and will hope to underline their dominance with a victory in front of the Old Trafford faithful.
However, with his squad having played two games in the space of three days last week Ferguson has said he will need to be careful with certain players.
“These are the games that everyone wants to be involved in, the derby games,” Ferguson told Inside United.
“Over the last few years the derby games have been far more important than they ever were, so we’ve all been looking forward to them. But we’ve had a heavy programme leading up to the game so we just have to manage it.
“The form in the league has been very good. But the international break came at a difficult time for us, in terms of preparing for the following fixtures.
“We had the game on the Saturday against Sunderland and then the cup replay against Chelsea on the Monday, after so many of the players had played two international games.
“And the calibre of player that we have means they always play for their international teams, that’s for sure.”
Wayne Rooney missed the clashes with Sunderland and Chelsea earlier this week after picking up an injury on England duty, but Ferguson said the striker should be fit.
“I’ve no worries about Rooney because he’s needing games, he’s the kind of player who has to play all the time,” he said.
“With (Robin) Van Persie, we have to monitor it because we still don’t know all about Robin, and the kind of seasons he’s had. I don’t think he had a season of such intensity during his time at Arsenal, so we’ll have to look at that.
“(Danny) Welbeck’s looking strong as well, as is Chicharito (Javier Hernandez).”