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Bolton Wanderers-Manchester United Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Manchester United will be out to avoid a third straight Premier League loss Saturday with the possibility of Paul Scholes making his first appearance at Old Trafford this season against relegation-threatened Bolton Wanderers.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side will take the pitch for the first time since Sunday's thrilling 3-2 FA Cup win at arch-rivals Manchester City. United were 3-0 ahead at half-time with City down to 10 men before their neighbours' spirited fightback fell short.
"It was a careless performance in the second half and we should have been home and dry," Ferguson said. "We made mistakes and you suffer if you make mistakes."
The match featured the return of Scholes, who retired after the 3-1 loss to Barcelona in May in the Champions League final. The 37-year-old midfielder is back after a change of heart.
"He came to see me and said he wanted to come back, he was missing it too much," Ferguson said. "There were no negatives as far as I'm concerned. The players were fantastic about it, the fans I'm sure will be happy and I'm happy."
Ferguson now has Scholes back among his midfield options for the rest of the season, with Darren Fletcher out for an indefinite period with a bowel disease and Tom Cleverley also sidelined. The former England midfielder scored 150 goals in 676 previous appearances for United over 17 years.
"I've been pretty clear since I stopped playing that I miss it," Scholes said. "I'm delighted the manager feels I can still make a contribution to the team. I'm looking forward to playing my part in trying to bring more success to this great club."
United have fallen to Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle in their last two league fixtures to remain three points adrift of leaders City.
Bolton sit in 18th place and their battle to avoid the drop will likely be more difficult with the departure of central defender Gary Cahill imminent. Manager Owen Coyle did not use Cahill in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Macclesfield Town in the FA Cup.
Cahill scored the winner in Wanderers' last Premier League match, a 2-1 win at Everton on Jan. 4. Bolton have been in better form away from the Reebok Stadium, winning four of 10 matches.
Ivan Klasnic scored the opener Saturday before Bolton went a goal down and needed David Wheater's 77th-minute strike to force next Tuesday's replay at the Reebok.
"We started the game well, got in front and really we should have put our foot down at that point," Coyle told Bolton's official website.
Wayne Rooney had a hat trick and Javier Hernandez added two goals in United's 5-0 rout at the Reebok on Sept. 10.
That type of dodgy defending is a main reason why Bolton have the joint-worst defence in the league having conceded 43 goals along with Blackburn Rovers. Goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen is set to return from a thigh injury.
Manchester United are 7-0-1 in their last eight Premier League fixtures against Bolton, and have won the last eight at Old Trafford by outscoring Wanderers 21-3.
Updated January 12, 2012