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Manchester United injury update | Dimitar Berbatov's ankle injury is "not serious"

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson just held his weekly pre-match press conference and the headline news was that Dimitar Berbatov's ankle injury sustained this past Wednesday night is not considered serious. The Bulgarian striker was substituted off at half-time after he received a knock on his ankle during United's Carling Cup quarter-final defeat by Crystal Palace. He apparently got a knock on the ankle last weekend and Wednesday was just a recurrence of it. Both da Silva twins -- Rafael and Fabio -- were also substituted off during the same match due to their own knocks sustained. Berbatov and the twins are not expected to travel to Villa Park on Saturday. Here is what Fergie had to say about Berbatov and the general nature of injuries at the club currently:

"Berbatov's injury isn't serious. He got injured the week before. We've been getting a few injuries but it happens. At the moment, we're going through a spell where we're getting a few a week but we have to get on with it."


The United boss also revealed that the prognosis regarding the long-term injuries to Anderson, Tom Cleverley, and Michael Owen has not changed. The latter two are expected to return near Christmas time while Ando is anticipated to be out until February.

Fergie also discussed the possibilities of loan deals in January for some of the younger players not finding regular time at United. He specifically mentioned Federico Macheda and Mame Biram Diouf:

"Lloan deals work well for all the young players. That's what we're looking at with Macheda and Diouf. They need games."

Depth in both the central-midfield and up front is a bit concerning at the moment. The injuries to Ando and Cleverley have left only Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, and Darren Fletcher as regular options in the center of the park. Striker Wayne Rooney and wide attacker Ji-Sung Park are capable of doing a job there but neither are optimal choices. Youngster Paul Pogba is an option as well.

The news on Berbatov is welcoming. The status of striker Danny Welbeck's muscle strain -- sustained while on England duty early in November -- is still unknown. With the injury to Owen, that leaves only Rooney, Javier Hernandez (Chicharito), and Berbatov as proven options up top. Both Macheda and Diouf failed to inspire on Wednesday when each was given the opportunity to play the full 120 minutes in that match. Macheda showed flashes of bright play as a lead striker -- including his well taken penalty -- but he was wasteful with many of his chances. Perhaps he will be in the 18 on Saturday due to the current injury situation and also because of his history of terrorizing Aston Villa with late goals. Diouf failed to inspire at all versus Palace.

* Match Preview: Aston Villa vs. Manchester United