As is typical, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson held his weekly press conference today and during it, he provided a brief injury update on his squad. Perhaps the most important news in regards to this is that both Phil Jones and Chris Smalling picked up knocks up in last weekend's victory over Manchester City during a FA Cup tie. In addition, Anderson -- who has recently returned to the squad after recovering from injury -- has also picked up a knock this week during training. It appears that each are injury doubts for tomorrow's match versus Bolton Wanderers -- although each will evaluated prior to. Here is what the United boss had to say in regards to these injuries and also about the challenge that the Trotters present: (Match Preview: Manchester United vs. Bolton)
"We've got one or two doubts for tomorrow. Smalling and Jones picked up knocks in the derby. We'll see what they're like tomorrow. Anderson got a knock in training, but hopefully he'll be okay. So we've got a reasonable squad for tomorrow. And we need a good performance against a team that will battle for everything. Any team near the bottom of the table will do that, as we experienced at home to Blackburn. We went into the Blackburn game with respect for them but it wasn't a great performance. We have to address Bolton's challenge properly. It's a local derby too, which adds something to it."
In addition to these knocks, the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Fabio, Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Ashley Young, and Michael Owen continue to be unavailable. About a week ago, it was revealed that both Cleverley and Young were about one month away from returning. Rio Ferdinand is a possible fitness concern as well after the defender revealed on Twitter that he had some sort of stomach ailment on Thursday -- the severity of this is unknown and no update was provided by Fergie today.
Suddenly and once again, all this news may potentially leave Fergie a bit limited when selecting his defense for the Bolton tie. In a worst case scenario where Jones, Smalling, and Ferdinand were out for tomorrow, then that would leave only Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans, and Rafael as experienced first-choice defenders. Youngster Zeki Fryers could provide cover but his availability is likely limited after starting in today's Reserves' match versus Stockport County. Midfielder Michael Carrick could provide cover at center-back while winger Antonio Valencia could do so at right-back. Fergie appears reluctant to use Rafael as of late as the Brazilian continues to find his form and fitness after his recent recovery from shoulder surgery.
Fergie also addressed a few other issues of interest during the press conference. There have been rumblings recently about starlet Ravel Morrison leaving -- whether that be in the current transfer window or in the summer when his contract expires. Here is what the manager had to say about this matter:
"His agent has been working hard to get him another club. We've offered him terms which he has refused. We've rejected an offer from Newcastle. We'll see how that progresses. His demands are unrealistic as far as we're concerned."
"It's a good move for him. He has to get on with his career. He has terrific ability but in terms of the pecking order here he knew he wouldn't be a first team regular all the time. He missed the opportunity to go to Sunderland [in the summer] and I think he regretted that. He's taken the opportnity to go to Everton and I think they need a player like him."
Fergie also mused about what it might take to win the league title this season:
"At the rate it's going the points total could be in the high 80s."