Anton ready to do battle with Rio

Having returned to training this week, Anton Ferdinand is hoping to finally make a long-awaited first appearance at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

The 21-year-old defender has missed the past two matches with a slight hip and groin injury but is fully recovered now and is set to be included in the squad for what will be his second trip to Manchester United with the Hammers.

The first came more than three years ago, in January 2003, when, as a 17-year-old youth academy hopeful, Anton was named as a substitute by Glenn Roeder for an FA Cup fourth round tie that ended with the Hammers on the wrong end of a 6-0 thrashing. He is understandably hoping for better fortune tomorrow night.

"That was the first time I ever travelled with the first team," he says. "I was on the bench and, although it was a terrible result for the team, it was a day to remember for me personally.

"Hopefully, I can go one step better this time and actually play the game. I was back in training on Monday and the injury has healed now, so it's just fingers crossed that I will be involved in the match."

Of course, with older brother Rio set to be named in the opposition line-up, Anton has another personal reason to wish for a return to Alan Pardew's team, and he reveals that the sibling rivalry has already begun.

"Rio has been constantly asking me if I'm going to be fit enough to play," he says. "To be honest, I think he is as desperate for me to play as I am!

"There hasn't been much banter between us about the game because I wasn't sure if I would be fit to play, but I feel fine now and it would be great to play against him at such a magnificent arena.

"United look to be back to their best at the moment, but we can go up there with nothing to fear," adds Anton. "We know that, on our day, we'll give anyone a game, and we have proved already this season that we can win away from home against the top teams.

"We were unlucky to lose at home to Man United back in November and all the boys will be hoping to put that right on Wednesday night. If we stay focused and take the game to them, I'm sure we can get a positive result."