Fergie saviour Robins aiming for United knockout

BARNSLEY: Nearly two decades after his FA Cup goal for Manchester United likely kept Alex Ferguson in a job at Old Trafford, Mark Robins will try to knock his old manager's side out of the League Cup.

Robins's goal in a 1-0 third round win against Nottingham Forest back in January 1990 came when former Aberdeen manager Ferguson was under pressure after three years without a trophy at Old Trafford.

But United went on to win the FA Cup, the first of 25 major trophies Ferguson has brought to the club.

They include last season's League Cup but the 39-year-old Robins, now the manager of Championship side Barnsley, will look to put one over his former boss at Oakwell on Tuesday.

Now the thought of Ferguson being forced out of United, even though the champions lost on Sunday to arch-rivals Liverpool, seems fanciful.

However, the Scot was not always so secure in his job as Robins recalled.

"I had just broken into the first-team fold," he said.

"The week before I had scored my first league goal against Wimbledon at Plough Lane. There was no alternative but to play me against Forest because there were a lot of injuries to senior players.

"In the first half, I got a chance where the ball was played into my feet. I had my back to goal but I turned and hit it just past the post.

"I got the hair-dryer treatment at half-time because I didn't lay it back to Brian McClair.

"For the goal, I remember Lee Martin was tackled, the ball came to Mark Hughes and with the outside of his right foot he laid it into the penalty area, but it hit the ground as it came up to me and I needed to guide it back where it came from.

"I got pushed in the back by one of their players but it went in the net and we won 1-0."

Robins doesn't mind being known as the man who saved Ferguson's job even if his old manager has a slightly different take on the events of that key match.

"It's nice that people think of the goal in that way and that I can have that claim, if you like," Robins said.

"But Sir Alex wrote a book and, in it, he was asked the question did the goal save his job? He wrote that in training I would have missed it - but because I got a push in the back from Stuart Pearce it went in!

"So did I save his job? Yes, I did."