Ferdinand will miss the Manchester derby

Ferdinand will miss the Manchester derby

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted on Friday that Rio Ferdinand had lost his battle to be fit for Manchester United’s decisive clash with neighbours Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday.

United’s manager has been nursing a defensive headache ahead of this weekend’s derby clash with Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling also battling to overcome injuries in time for this weekend’s big game. Ferdinand damaged his calf muscle during the warm-up for the Wolves game last Saturday and his manager thought at the time, his centre half would be out for a couple of weeks, but after intensive treatment earlier this week hopes were raised that he might make it for the City game.

Jonny Evans aggravated an ankle injury when training with the Northern Ireland squad in midweek and Chris Smalling returned to training on Wednesday after pulling out of the England Under-21 squad in Italy with a knock. Ferguson had earlier insisted his captain, Nemanja Vidic was withdrawn from the Serbian squad as his central defensive options were looking threadbare and out-of-favour Wes Brown was readying himself to be called back into the fold.

Sir Alex confirmed at Fridays’ pre-match press conference that Ferdinand would not make the team to face their title rivals and as originally expected, would be out for two weeks to allow full recovery from his calf injury. It appears Smalling has recovered from his problem and he has been chosen ahead of Brown to partner Vidic at centre back.
It is a big vote of confidence for Smalling who can look forward to the biggest game in his career when he runs out for his first Manchester derby, the 21 year-old will be making his fourth league start for the Red Devils since joining from Fulham for £10 million in the summer.

Ferguson believes Saturday’s game will prove decisive in the battle at the top of the Premier League where United have a five-point lead over third placed City, he seems to be implying that victory for the Reds will just about see off the challenge of his noisy neighbours. United suffered their first league defeat of the season when going down 2-1 at Wolves last weekend and online bookmaker Stan James bet 5/6 for the Reds to bounce back with a win against City.

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