Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson just held his weekly pre-match conference ahead of Sunday's clash with Queens Park Rangers. The headline news is that Dimitar Berbatov is fit to feature as he is now recovered from the ankle knock he sustained against Crystal Palace on November 30. The Bulgarian striker returned to training last week but he failed a late fitness test ahead of United's match versus Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend. In addition, it was revealed by the United boss that defender Rafael has returned to training and that midfielder Darron Gibson has sustained a minor knock in recent days. Here is what Fergie had to say about his side's injuries:
"Berbatov's fit. Rafael is back training as well. Darron Gibson got a knock last night [for the Reserves]. He was taken off as a precaution but he should be okay."
Fergie also provided an update on midfielder Darren Fletcher, who is being given a rest from football as he attempts to recover from ulcerative colitis -- a chronic inflammatory bowel condition. He is what Fergie had to say about the Scotsman:
"The medical people have made the right decision [on Fletcher]. They regarded Darren's health as the more important issue and we as a club agree with that. He's not been in training - he's been in hospital for a few days. He'll rest now. He's a loss - he's such a great professional and it's not easy to replace that, but we'll think about that. Hopefully he'll make a full recovery. It's obviously going to take a bit of time and rest is the most important thing at the moment. I can't put a timescale on it."
Injuries are a major concern at the club right now and it was just last week when captain Nemanja Vidic was ruled out for the season with a ruptured cruciate ligament. In addition, the likes of Fabio, Tom Cleverley, Anderson, Michael Owen, and Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) are all unavailable as well due to various injuries. However, all but Ando and Vidic are expected to recover over the next few weeks -- a time when a squad is needed during the congested holiday fixture list.
Berbatov's recovery comes at a fortunate time as only Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, and he are reliable first-team choices at striker for the moment. Out-of-form Federico Macheda -- who is likely to go out on loan in January -- is farther down the pecking order but he will need to provide cover during this crucial holiday period -- one that sees United play 5 league matches in an 18-day span.
Depth is a concern in defense as well so Rafael's anticipated return could be crucial. United's only healthy defenders at the moment are Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling ,and Phil Jones -- the concern is heightened when considering Rio's back issues.