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Football | Barclays Premier League

Hernandez hopes heroics help

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez is hoping his goal-scoring heroics in mid-week will earn him a place in Alex Ferguson's side for Saturday's meeting with West Bromwich Albion.

The Mexican forward scored his sixth league goal of the campaign in just his fourth Premier League start this season to earn United three points in the dramatic 4-3 win over Newcastle United on Wednesday.

Wayne Rooney will miss the home clash with West Brom and could be out for three weeks because of a knee injury, while Danny Welbeck missed the Newcastle game with illness and it is not known if he will have recovered in time.

But even if Welbeck is fit, Hernandez feels he has done enough to prove he should start alongside Robin van Persie.

Hernandez said: "You can ask all the players in the world and they will tell you they want to start every game. But when you are at the biggest club in the world, you have competition.

"You have to be aware as well, there are five strikers here who want to be part of the game. The only thing I need to do is prove I am ready, in one minute or 90 minutes."

United defender Rio Ferdinand thinks Hernandez is a threat because he never gives up.

"You don't mind your forwards missing chances as long as they're always in there getting the chances," he said.

"He doesn't put his head down when he misses, he's always got that will and desire to get in there and be there to make that mistake. You get your rewards sometimes, and he did that today (Wednesday)."

Centre-back Nemanja Vidic was rested against Newcastle and is set to return against West Brom as United look to shore up a leaky defence.

Ferguson's men have conceded 28 goals already this term – just five short of the total for the whole of last season – but still have a seven-point advantage at the top of the Premier League.

Ferdinand said: "The lead means nothing. We've been in this position over the years, when we've been eight, nine, 10, 11 clear and not gone on to win it.

"And we've been in positions of being behind and gone on to win it. So Newcastle was a great result for us but we have another big game coming up in a couple of days."

West Brom midfielder Chris Brunt has set his sights on finding the net on a more regular basis after scoring his first league goal of the campaign in his side's 2-1 victory at Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday.

"It has been a frustrating season for me as I've been in and out of the team with injuries," said Brunt.

"I've had a few games recently but a goal has been a long time coming and I'm delighted to have got one.

"The gaffer (Steve Clarke) had a bit of a joke with me the other day about me not scoring enough goals – but I knew he meant it!

"It's been a long time since I scored and I haven't got enough goals from midfield over the last couple of years.

"I try to get shots on target from outside the box and I knew as soon as I'd hit it that I'd hit it well enough for it to go in.

"Obviously, getting the three points is the main thing, but I'm pleased I got a goal."

Albion have now earned two straight victories ahead of the daunting trip to Old Trafford.

"We went off track a little bit with three successive defeats, but now we're unbeaten in three and we've won our last two," added Brunt.

"It's very important in this league to pick up back-to-back wins."


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