ASTON VILLA defender Richard Dunne respects Manchester United, but insists he and his team-mates should travel to Old Trafford with belief in their top-four credentials.
Former Manchester City player Dunne experienced the joy of completing a derby double over United two seasons ago under Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Villa have not beaten United in the Barclays Premier League since 1995 and their last success at Old Trafford was 26 years ago.
But Martin O’Neill’s side will face the Red Devils tomorrow in confident mood having beaten leaders Chelsea and Liverpool already this season.
Ireland defender Dunne said: “We know on any given day that we can beat anyone. We have got a squad full of top quality talent. Nobody should be afraid going into the game on Saturday.
“We all respect and know how good Manchester United are but, if we are to challenge the top four, these are the games we have to go and have the belief to play and impose our game on them.
“Manchester United have a decent record against Villa but this season we just feel a little bit different and we have got tools to win games against the big sides.
“We will give it a really good go and try and prove to Manchester United and the rest of the league that we are here to challenge for that top four.
“We just have to concentrate on ourselves and we know as a team we have to defend and when we do get opportunities, we have to take them.
“It is going to be everyone fighting for each other.”
Dunne added: “The win in the Carling Cup against Portsmouth and the win over Hull means the confidence is high but we know how tough it is going to be at Old Trafford.
“My record against United is not bad. I’ve had a few draws and wins but every game I’ve played against them before has been a derby. On Saturday I imagine will be a different atmosphere.’’
O’Neill anticipates a tough test despite United’s injury list which led them to playing Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Park Ji-Sung in their back four against Wolfsburg in the Champions League in midweek.
He said: “If you had listened to Alex Ferguson talking before their European game, he mentioned that the most important thing for him was Saturday’s game against Aston Villa.
“He might not have every single option available to him but he’ll have a lot more options available to him on Saturday, you can guarantee that.
“Manchester United couldn’t have won the number of championships they have without having one of the strongest squads in European football.”
Meanwhile Dunne’s international team-mate Darron Gibson is determined not to waste the gilt-edged opportunity presented to him by Manchester United’s current injury crisis.
After going two months without an appearance following the Carling Cup victory over Wolves in September, Gibson has suddenly appeared five times in 18 days as United’s list of casualties continues to grow.
United’s recent crisis has given Gibson his big break and he has vowed to take it.
“Manchester United is the best club in the world,” said the 22-year-old.
“When you leave here there is only one way to go and that is down.
“As everyone knows, it is very difficult to make it at United but if you do it, you reap the rewards.
“The gaffer is famous for giving chances to young lads. If you take your chance he sticks with you, so hopefully I will keep getting a few more games.”
Gibson added: “It is a difficult time for United. Obviously I don’t like players being injured but it has given me a chance to prove myself. From not playing at all to playing three games in a week is tough going. But the manager has shown enough trust in me and I feel I have taken my opportunities so far. Hopefully they keep coming.
“It is tough to get into the team regularly when you are young but hopefully I can keep having a positive impact and scoring a few goals, then we will see where it takes me.”
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