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Premier League Preview: Manchester United - Stoke City

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Premier League Preview: Manchester United - Stoke City
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Premier League Preview: Manchester United - Stoke City
Robin van Persie is set to make his return from injury for Manchester United's Premier League fixture against Stoke City on Saturday.

The Netherlands international was rested for his side's 1-0 win over Real Sociedad in the Champions League on Wednesday but David Moyes is positive over the striker's availability for the match at Old Trafford.

"I hope Robin will be fit for the weekend," said Moyes. "He had a couple of niggling injuries even before he went on international duty and they have all just caught up on him a bit.

"I thought if I had a chance to give him a breather I would and fortunately for us it worked out fine."

Tom Cleverley (calf), Rio Ferdinand (groin) and Nemanja Vidic (knock) will all hope to be available. Darren Fletcher, meanwhile, has returned to training following 10 months out with a chronic bowel condition.

Reigning champion United - which sits eighth in the table - has taken just five points from a possible 12 at Old Trafford this season, and conceded late to draw its last home encounter 1-1 with Southampton on Saturday.

That result means Moyes' men could go three games without a home victory in the Premier League for the first time since October 2005 should Stoke deny the club three points this weekend.

The team's only top-flight success at Old Trafford this term came in a 2-0 triumph over Crystal Palace in September, and Moyes will be desperate for his side to buck that trend against Mark Hughes' team.

Ahead of the game, midfielder Michael Carrick admitted United must do more to improve its position in the division, as the team sits some eight points behind leader Arsenal.

"The frustrating thing is we have had moments in certain games when you think 'this is it, we're on the up'," he told the club's official website.

"You can look at the Southampton game last Saturday and say we really should have won. In the past we have been good at getting on top of those things and seeing games out. I am sure we will do that in the games we have coming up."

Stoke comes into the fixture on a five-match winless run in the top flight, and drew a blank in its latest encounter with West Brom.

Indeed, Hughes' men have failed to score in their last three Premier League games, but have never gone four without scoring since gaining promotion in 2008.

If Stoke - which has taken just one point from 10 Premier League meetings with United - manages to pull off an unlikely win on Saturday, it would represent Hughes' 100th Premier League victory as a manager.

Hughes may be without former United defender Ryan Shawcross who has been unable to train this week through illness, but Geoff Cameron could return from a groin injury.

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