Manchester United's dire defensive situation will continue for Fulham

Durban, South Africa. - JULY 17: Rio Ferdinand during the Manchester United training session at Moses Mabhida Stadium on July 17, 2012 in Durban, South Africa..(Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

If you're a Manchester United supporter -- which I assume most of you are if you're reading this -- you're likely still haunted by Marouane Fellaini abusing poor Michael Carrick at Goodison Park. Our midfield maestro -- who was forced into emergency central-defense duty due to the current injuries to Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, and Phil Jones -- competed bravely but he was simply overwhelmed by Everton's big Belgian. It's very possible that Carrick will be asked to continue in this role though for the upcoming ties versus Fulham on Saturday and versus Southampton on September 2. After Monday night's contest in Merseyside, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson provided this update on his dire defensive situation:

"I don’t think any of them [Ferdinand, Evans, Smalling, Jones] will be fit for Saturday. Hopefully Jonny Evans is getting near. Obvoiusly we’ve got a good week’s training now and that will bring him on a good bit. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we should be okay."

- Ferguson | Source: MUTV

It's being speculated that Rio is likely out for about 4 weeks (mid-September return), Jones possibly out for about 4 weeks as well, Smalling unavailable until mid-October, and Evans soon from ankle injury. After the away tie to Southampton on September, United don't play again until September 15 due to an international break. Hopefully by the time the break concludes, Sir Alex will actually have a few options in central-defense. In the mean time, we're going to have to get by with Carrick or maybe youngster Scott Wootton -- who joined the club for it's preseason tour -- will get a run. The 20-year-old defender has spent the past few seasons out on loan. The situation is certainly something to be concerned about as Fulham just bagged five goals in their season opener versus Norwich City while Southampton surprisingly were a handful for Manchester City at the Etihad.

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