Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson just held his press conference ahead of tomorrow's match at Reading and during it, he revealed that Nemanja Vidic has returned to training and the defender could possibly be available next Wednesday to face CFR Cluj:
"Vidic has probably only played about 10-12 games in the last 18 months. He started training during the week and he's done okay. He hasn't been involved in the real competitive part but at least he's back with the rest. It would be nice to play him on Wednesday in the Champions League game against Cluj. I wouldn't be adverse to playing him.Good defenders win you the league. I gave Rio [Ferdinand] a rest on Wednesday with tomorrow's game in mind. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones being back gives the right problem that I need."
- Ferguson | Source: ManUtd.com
Vidic was expected to be out until about Christmas time so this is obviously fantastic news. The UEFA Champions League game at Old Trafford versus Cluj would be a great soft-landing for the captain as that game is inconsequential from a United perspective due to the club already clinching top spot in their group. For most of this season, the plethora of injuries to first-team center-backs has limited Fergie's options and this has led to midfielder Michael Carrick being deployed at center-back at times. Now though, the manager will soon have five fantastic central-defender options at his disposal.
The gaffer has been lacking options, though, out wide as of late. He confirmed that Antonio Valencia and Nani would still be out for tomorrow's tie -- although the former is expected to soon return:
"Nani and Valencia are still out. Nani will be out for four or five weeks. It's a hamstring injury and you have to take your time with it. Antonio should be fit for next week. He's got a hip injury, which is painful, but getting better."
At the midweek, Fergie deployed his side in a midfield diamond and much of that decision was likely due to the lack of available wingers. Against Reading, these same circumstances may lead him to a repeat decision as the out-of-form Ashley Young is his natural winger option at the moment. Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney can do a job out wide but neither provide width as both prefer to drift inside from their initial wide positions.
Sir Alex provided a few other player updates as well:
"Nick Powell has had a virus but should be okay for tomorrow and [Ryan] Giggs had a slight hamstring strain but should also be okay. Paul Scholes is back from suspension. It's quite late for Scholesy to get a suspension - it's usually about October! It’s amazing that we’ve had defensive injuries for such a long period and now we’ve got the defenders back we’ve got two wide players injured. That’s the game for you. Everyone else is fine."
The boss also had these thoughts about the away fixture at Reading:
"I think away games are getting more difficult in the Barclays Premier League. Our game at Norwich is a good example of that. Norwich fought like tigers. They were really organised and motivated and made it a difficult day for us and I think we can expect the same at Reading. When Brian became manager there it took him a little bit of time to get his ideas across but look at the second half of last season – they came from nowhere to win the league. They’re definitely a club that are improving and although they’ve not had a lot of wins, they’re always hard games against them. I expect what we got at Norwich – a really difficult game."