Is Jonny Evans Unavailable For The Derby?

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Shane Long of West Bromwich Albion takes on Jonny Evans of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns on August 14, 2011 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

According to James Ducker of The Times -- the same journalist who insists that the Nicolas Gaitan rumblings to Manchester United are false -- Jonny Evans hasn't trained all week and his fitness is in question ahead of Monday night's Manchester derby. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson held his weekly pre-match press conference a day earlier than usual yesterday and during it, he indicated that there was nothing new to report on the injury front. Therefore, the possibility of Evans carrying an injury is quite a surprise. United's upcoming encounter with Manchester City is certainly the biggest match of the Premier League season as it is a possible title-decider -- so any gamesmanship or stealthiness by either side in regards to available player personnel would hardly be shocking.

At this point in time, it's difficult to determine how much truth there is in regards to this report. Despite Evans having a shocker at Old Trafford during the 1-6 reverse fixture -- one that saw the defender get sent off in the 46th minute -- he's undoubtedly been United's most impressive defender this season. Therefore, losing him for this massive match would be a tremendous blow. Fergie has talented deputy options in youngsters Chris Smalling and Phil Jones but the latter's form has dipped quite a bit in the 2nd half of this season -- and even when in form, he's failed to impress as a central-defender. In addition, Smalling has been dealing with fitness and form issues in recent months and the defender has hardly featured as of late. If Evans truly is out for Monday's derby, then this is certainly worrying for United in their quest for a 20th conquering of England.

* City Scouting Report

* Tactical Review of This Season's Two Derbies

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