Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson held his weekly pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of the tie versus Bolton Wanderers on Saturday. Perhaps the biggest piece of news is that Antonio Valencia is available for selection after recovering from an ankle injury suffered during Copa America while on duty for Ecuador. Here is what the United boss had to say about his winger:
"Valencia's doing very, very well - he's in the squad for tomorrow."
Fergie also revealed that Rio Ferdinand is available for selection after recovering from injury. Here is what he had to say about his entire defense:
"Ferdinand's available but none of the back four deserve to be dropped so I don't anticipate many changes in the team."
It was also revealed that Danny Welbeck's hamstring injury is not as serious as initially feared. The 20-year-old striker, who had 2 goals in United's first three league matches, is expected to return to training next week. Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez is likely to start in Welbeck's place. Here is what Fergie had to say about his Mexican striker:
"There's no new problems after the internationals. Hernandez is fit. He played two lots of 45 minutes for Mexico and scored a goal. It's terrific for him to have the two halves, he's ready and has trained very well. The only concern was the rest time he needed after the concussion in the U.S. Otherwise he was fine."
It appears that not many changes are expected from the starting XI that last played against Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC -- perhaps only Chicharito in for the injured Welbeck. It could be reasonably guessed that the squad will be rotated for United's midweek tie when they travel to Benfica for their first UEFA Champions League group stage match -- maybe this is when the likes of Ferdinand, Valencia, Ji-Sung Park, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick, Fabio, and Dimitar Berbatov are worked into the squad. The Reds also have a clash in nine day's time with Chelsea FC and whoever is selected for that match may provide an indicator as to who are Fergie's first-choice players at the current moment. With a stretch of seven matches over 22 days coming up, expect the full squad to be used in that time.
Here are the players that are expected to be unavailable for the Bolton match:
* Danny Welbeck
* Darron Gibson