Injury woe for United as Young is sidelined until late January… but Jones is set for instant return
Walk of pain: Ashley Young suffered a knee injury in the win at Fulham
Ashley Young will be sidelined for at least “a few weeks” by a knee injury picked up against Fulham, heaping more injury misery on Manchester United.
The winger joins a growing list at Old Trafford that has already seen Nemanja Vidic ruled out for the season while Darren Fletcher will miss an unspecified period with a rare bowel condition.
In addition, Rio Ferdinand is set to miss the Boxing Day clash against Wigan after picking up a foot injury in training.
There was however some good news for the champions, after scans revealed Phil Jones did not suffer a broken cheekbone during the 5-0 win at Craven Cottage.
Jones was forced to leave the field after 20 minutes after he clashed with Clint Dempsey and manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed afterwards he feared the young England international faced a spell on the sidelines.
But after scans revealed no break, Sir Alex Ferguson revealed Jones is set to feature in the Boxing Day clash against Wigan at Old Trafford.
You got some cheek: Phil Jones also left the pitch prematurely at Craven Cottage
“Phil Jones should be okay for Monday,” Ferguson said. “We feared the worst but there is no break.”
Ferguson admitted he was concerned when he first noted Jones” condition.
“We feared the worst,” he said. “At the time it looked like a real sore one.
“He had lost his vision for that period when he came back on the field. Thankfully it is good news.
“He has got a bit of swelling in his jaw but he should be okay for Monday.”
Jones initially tried to continue but his eventual departure heralded Young”s ill-fated arrival.
“He has got a knee injury that will keep him out for a few weeks,” said Ferguson.
Given the elbow: Clint Dempsey clatters into Jones
“He was tripped and wasn”t in position to go into the next tackle.
“He was half falling at the time and got a real clump.
“It wasn”t a bad tackle. It was just hard.”
Young joins an extensive casualty list that is easing slightly with the recovery of Brazilian full-back Rafael from a hamstring injury but not as quickly as Ferguson would havehoped at this congested phase of the season.
Michael Owen (thigh), Tom Cleverley (ankle) and Anderson (knee) have all been absent for a number of weeks and show no immediate sign of a return.
“It is not great news about the other ones,” said Ferguson.
“Michael, Tom and Anderson are still on the sick list.
Fearing the worst: Ferguson admitted to being concerned when Jones was taken off
“It is not an easy spell for us but we have to get through it.”
Despite their injury concerns United have won seven of their past eight Premier League matches since their 6-1 humbling at home to Manchester City to leave them two points adrift of their cross-town rivals.
Ferguson is determined to maintain that run during a busy festive programme, adding: “It is time to keep our foot on the pedal.”
The Scot would not be drawn on the subject of Luis Suarez”s ban after the Liverpool striker was this week suspended for eight games by the FA for using insulting words towards United defender Patrice Evra – including reference to his colour – at Anfield in October.
“I have nothing to say about that at all,” he said.
Ferguson was, however, more outspokenon the torrid reception Steve Kean endured from his own fans during hisside”s 2-1 defeat to Bolton on Tuesday night.
Defeat left Rovers bottom of the table heading into Christmas and, after Kean received a barracking with supporters again calling for him to be sacked, Ferguson revealed he tried to call his fellow Scot to offer his support.
“I have never seen anything as bad asthat,” Ferguson said. “I feel for the lad. I tried to phone him but he probably quite rightly had his phone switched off. For goodness sake, give the lad a break. It doesn”t say a lot for our society.”