Sir Alex Ferguson held his pre-match press conference ahead of Manchester United's trip away to Stoke City tomorrow. The major news that came about is that Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) is available for selection at Britannia Stadium. There were fears that the Mexican striker would miss significant time after he suffered an injury from a rash Ashley Cole challenge last Sunday in United's clash with Chelsea FC. However, those fears have been alleviated:
"At the time it happened, he had no feeling in the leg. There was numbness and and we thought there might have been some nerve damage. He's available for tomorrow." - Sir Alex Ferguson
Chicharito resumed training on Thursday and it is not certain as to where his fitness levels are after a few days off. Wayne Rooney is almost certain to start on Saturday and Chicharito - along with Danny Welbeck, Dimitar Berbatov, and Michael Owen - will be amongst the choices that Fergie has to choose form in picking a partnership up top. Welbeck himself has just returned from injury and it is uncertain whether he is fit enough to start the match. He did come on as a late substitute during United's midweek Carling Cup tie versus Leeds United. Berbatov and Owen went the full 90 minutes in that same match.
Fergie also indicated his desire to have Rio Ferdinand available for selection tomorrow. The England international has been troubled by a calf injury this season -- one that has kept him unavailable for the majority of United's matches during this young season. Chris Smalling's availability is in doubt as well:
"Hopefully I’ll have Rio tomorrow. His experience away from home in a game like this is always important. We’ve got a slight doubt about Chris Smalling – we’ll see what he’s like this morning. If he’s back we’re covered well for it." - Ferguson
The United boss also gave an update on his injured captain, Nemanja Vidic:
"He's making slow progress. He's still having treatment." -Ferguson
On September 13, Fergie indicated that Vida might return in two weeks time from that date. However, the center-back has yet to resume training and it appears that he likely will be out even longer. An international break is upcoming after the October 1 Norwich City game and all indications are that Vida will not return to the club until after the break is over in mid-October. Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, and Chris Smalling have all ably deputised -- perhaps it would be most prudent for Vida to not rush a comeback and only return when fully healthy. The season is long.