Both Gary Cahill and Wayne Rooney may return to their respective team’s starting line-up this afternoon at Old Trafford, having been named as substitutes for midweek European matches.

In advance of the FA Cup sixth-round tie, Cahill has spoken to Chelsea TV about the prospect of facing his colleague from the England squad, and defending against Manchester United in general.

‘Obviously it is a very tough draw, away from home as well, so it is going to be a good game and we know how difficult it is going to be, it is one of the biggest games of our season,’ Cahill told the club’s channel.

‘I’ve trained with Wayne Rooney and I have worked closely with him and he is certainly very dangerous. Whoever else wants to try to write him off, I certainly wouldn’t do that, I know what quality he possesses.’

The Chelsea centre-back does not anticipate Rooney’s late introduction into Man United’s defeat by Real Madrid will be playing too much on the striker’s mind today, and knows to guard against a motivated player. It is clear what is needed from the Chelsea rearguard if our defence of the FA Cup is to continue.

‘We have to be so concentrated, one lapse and they will punish you,’ said the 27-year-old.

‘They have many players who can score goals and we are well aware of their forward line The main thing is concentration and to just defend as well as we possibly can, hoping our creative players will cause them some issues as well.’

Chelsea, unlike today’s opponents, have yet to conclude our latest European tie, and there are plenty of important league games ahead, but those do not detract from the team’s determination to also keep going in a competition in which we have excelled in recent years.

‘No team wants to go out the cup, both these teams want to go on and win the trophy, and to do that you have to win this game,’ Cahill said.

‘I’d love to get to the final because I want to win a trophy and I missed it last season through injury. It is never nice to sit out a final. Chelsea have been blessed that they have done really well over the last few years and we want to go on and win it again.

‘We have a big task in front of us if we want to do that but it is never an easy ride to go and win the FA Cup, and we need to overcome this hurdle.’

Chelsea’s travelling support will be there at Old Trafford to play their part, and looking back to Thursday game away against Steaua Bucharest, Cahill thanked those who made the journey to Romania.

‘It was a long flight and it was fantastic that they came over and supported us. Unfortunately we didn’t get the right result but hopefully we can turn that around in the home leg.’

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