MUFC Team News for Reading: Nani and Jones will not feature

This will not happen this season, and given Reading's form probably not next one either - Alex Livesey

Sir Alex Ferguson's weekly press conference wasn't exactly a cheery affair

After hints to the contrary, Sir Alex Ferguson was true to form, disclosing that neither Phil Jones's ankle nor Luis Nani's hamstring were feeling up to facing Reading at Old Trafford on Saturday.

There were hints that Nani's hamstring injury that forced him off against Chelsea last week was not a serious one. However, it looks like things got worse for the unlucky winger, although it still fell under 'slight' for Sir Alex:

"We will keep him out for a couple of weeks. We thought it could have been another bad hamstring injury. It is a slight one. He won't be ready for Sunderland but certainly the game after that."

That game, of course, comes on the 1st of April - the replay of the FA Cup Quaterfinal at Stamford Bridge. Still, thanks to the international break, the tricky winger misses only two premier league games.

The only other player mentioned was Phil Jones. He, however, looks likely to feature at some stage against the Black Cats next week:

"Jones should start training next week. He is coming on."

Initially forced off against the Royals (again, in the FA Cup at home) Jones has since missed a number of games. The combative youngster has struggled with injuries this season, so given his style of play (read: Zest/Craziness/Passion) it seems a good idea to ease him back, particularly given the immense recent form of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Johnny Evans. This is in obvious contrast to Nani's case - he has consistently looked the most lively of our wing-men, while Antonio Valencia has struggled - and his ability to provide width and trickery may be missed against teams that set their stall out to defend deep.

Conspicuous by his absence, however, was Paul Scholes. The veteran had been missing for the past month or two due to a knee injury suffered in training, so this is welcome news. One feels that an extended time out may have dampened his enthusiasm to continue next season. As it stands, his ability to close games out will be vital in the run-in.

All things considered, these should not really inconvenience us against our relegation-threatened opponents. The squad is deep enough to deal with these injuries, and hey - it's (yet) another opportunity to see if Valencia can play himself into form!

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