By Mike Collett
MANCHSTER, England, Feb 10 - A highly charged
afternoon is in prospect when Manchester United face Manchester
City in a derby match of rare emotion at Old Trafford on Sunday
Not only are vital Premier League points at stake for both
clubs, but also the willingness of the visiting fans to respect
the minute's silence being staged before the kickoff as a mark
of respect to the victims of the Munich air disaster 50 years
Eight Manchester United players were among the 23 people
killed at Munich on Feb. 6, 1958 when the plane bringing the
team back from a European Cup tie in Belgrade crashed on takeoff
after a refuelling stop.
Former Manchester City and England goalkeeper Frank Swift,
working as a journalist, was also among the victims and it is
hoped City fans will observe the silence as a mark of respect to
him as well as the others who died.
City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson said on Friday: "I want
them to observe the silence. I would like them to forget being
City fans for just one minute and respect all those who died."
Both teams will be wearing modified kit resembling that of
the 1950s without logos, crests or names and numbered 1-11.
Once the ceremonial side of the proceedings are completed,
attention will turn to league points with champions United
eager to move back to the top of the table, at least until
leaders Arsenal play Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates on Monday.
City, who have slid down the table to eighth after a poor
run of form, will be looking to follow up their 1-0 win over
United at home in August and also record their first win at Old
Trafford in 23 matches since 1974.
United will be without the suspended Wayne Rooney. City are
missing Elano, also through suspension, although Benjani
Mwaruwari should make his debut following the completion of his
protracted transfer from Portsmouth.
(Editing by Alison Wildey)