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Ferguson rues United injury trouble

Monday December 14th 2009

Sir Alex Ferguson is facing a major defensive headache ahead of Manchester United's Tuesday night Champions League encounter with Wolfsburg.

A injury crisis of some proportion leaves Patrice Evra and untried 19-year-old Oliver Gill as the Red Devils' only fit defenders. Ferguson, who must be wishing he'd taken out that sports injury insurance package at the start of the season, must decide which midfielders he will use alongside Michael Carrick, who is already earmarked for a centre-back berth.

With 12 players injured, Ryan Giggs rested and Owen Hargreaves still to make an appearance this term following major knee surgery, Ferguson has been forced to delve into his B-list of players just to make up a squad.

Youngsters who have spent two years with a club academy can be added to the original list of 25 players United must supply to UEFA at the start of the competition.

It meant five were on the flight to Germany on Tuesday morning, with even United's legion of autograph hunters forced to ask their names for confirmation.

It is a measure of United's injury problems that Gill is one of only two natural defenders in the 19-man party.

The other, Evra, is apparently being persuaded to play in central defence against his better judgement, even though he will be giving almost a foot in height to Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko.

"[Playing with] one defender, it is worth trying," joked Ferguson. "It would be easy to organise anyway."

In truth, Michael Carrick is already earmarked for one central defensive berth while Darren Fletcher will also figure somewhere in the back four, depending on how successful Ferguson is at winning Evra round.

"Wolfsburg will be delighted we have so many injuries," admitted Ferguson.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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