BLACKBURN boss Graeme Souness today backed Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke to gun down Manchester United as they prepare to face their old club at Ewood tomorrow.

The former Reds duo will spearhead Souness's attack as Rovers attempt to put a spanner in United's title assault.

And, with Cole currently in red-hot form after bagging three goals in his last two games, Souness hopes his former England striker will be wearing a grin as wide as Yorke's come 4pm tomorrow.

"You can't tell what they are thinking because you've got Dwight who's forever smiling and the other fella is a wee bit different shall we say, but you have to respect that," said Souness.

"I think Andy only breaks into a big cheesy grin when the ball ends up in the back of the net so, hopefully, we'll see a lot more of that cheesy grin over the Christmas period.

"He's certainly on fire right now.

"In many ways, he and Dwight have had similar seasons so far.

"Both worked hard in pre-season, started playing, then got injured with injuries which kept them out for a bit of time and in Dwight's case, it was a recurring one.

"So it's only now that they are starting to look as sharp as they'd want to be and as I would want them."

Much was expected of the Cole and Yorke partnership when Souness took the decision to reunite them in the summer.

But a succession of injury problems has meant that Blackburn fans have only started to see the best of the pair in the last few games.

Nevertheless, Souness has kept faith in their partnership and he expects them to get even sharper as the season wears on.

"Strikers are judged in black and white terms and Manchester United along with Real Madrid are probably among the most glamorous football clubs in the world right now.

"So I'm sure there was some adjusting to be done when they first came here.

"But I sat down with them over a cup of tea before they signed and the most important thing to come out of those meetings was they wanted to play football and they weren't going to get regular games at Manchester United.

"I said I would give them that chance and, to date, I'm delighted with the two of them.

"If you go back to last season, Andy got the goals to win us the League Cup and keep us in the league.

"Okay, this year both of them have not been firing on all cylinders but there are reasons for that and I hope, between now and the end of the season, they can keep their fitness because I think we'll be very pleased with them come April."

Tomorrow's clash between the two old rivals has all the makings of a pre-Christmas cracker.

Aside from Yorke and Cole wanting to prove a point to Sir Alex Ferguson, controversial Irishman Roy Keane is also expected to make his comeback.

And with United coming to Ewood on the back of an eight-game winning streak, Souness knows his team will have their work cut out if they are to get a result.

"There's never a good time to play a team like Manchester United," said Souness.

"A lot of people were writing them off but I always felt that was a big, big mistake because if you look at the quality they have and the age of that quality, they are far from a spent force.

"So unfortunately we are meeting them when they are in a rich vein of form but, on the other side of the coin, we feel as though we can give most people a game at home and it's always good to test yourself against the best.

"It's very difficult to play against top teams because they can hurt you from so many different areas and that's what Manchester United have.

"It's not about playing against one striker and then thinking does that mean I don't have to worry about Ryan Giggs or David Beckham or Paul Scholes coming in late.

"You worry about them full stop. It won't cause me any sleepless nights, I'm way beyond that.

"But we'll worry about them at kick-off."

Souness has a few selection problems as he contemplates his starting eleven.

Damien Duff is doubtful after an Achilles injury forced him to miss training this week and David Thompson is suspended.

But David Dunn is back in contention for a recall after recovering from a hamstring injury.

And Hakan Sukur could be handed a place on the bench after stepping up his fitness during the last seven days.

"Hakan's name is in the squad and again we'll see how he feels in the next 24 hours," added Souness.

"It's difficult because we've been hammering him in training and then obviously when it comes to matchdays there'll be a wee bit of tiredness there.

"So it's a difficult one to know how to play."

Rovers will choose from: Friedel, Neill, Johansson, Short, Taylor, Flitcroft, Tugay, Gillespie, Cole, Yorke, Duff, Dunn, Grabbi, Jansen, Ostenstad, Bjornebye, McEveley, Kelly.