LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Ashley Young of Manchester United leaves the field during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester United at Craven Cottage on December 21, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
At his weekly press conference on Friday, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson provided updates on his squad's injury situation. The headline news is that defender/midfielder Phil Jones is fit for the Boxing Day clash with Wigan Athletic but that winger Ashley Young will be out for several weeks. Here is what the United boss had to say:
"We have good news on Phil Jones: he should be okay for Monday," the boss said. "He has some swelling in his jaw but there's no break, no fracture, which is good news. We feared the worst because he lost his vision a bit in that period when he came back onto the field. Thankfully it's good news. It's not so good for Ashley Young. We're still waiting on some of the bleeding to go away, which is quite extensive at the moment. It was a sore one so he'll be out for a few weeks. Ashley was tripped as he went into the next tackle. He wasn't positioned to go into that next tackle – he was half-falling at the time. The second tackle was a hard tackle – not a bad tackle – it was just the way he went into Ashley. He's taken a real clump."
"There's not great news on the other ones – Michael, Tom and Ando are still on the sick list. But Rafael played in the Reserves last night, which will help him. As we get one back, we're losing one. It's not an easy spell for us but we just have to get on with it. The squad has handled the situation quite well. The form has been really good and I'm pleased with that. We're scoring goals again, which is terrific."
No update was provided for defender Rio Ferdinand so it is uncertain if he will miss the match or not -- just as he had for the match at Fulham on Wednesday. If he is out, that perhaps means that Rafael will start at right-back while Jones, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, and Patrice Evra are the only other current established first-team options. However, form and fitness would certainly be a concern at the moment for Rafael so perhaps right-winger Antonio Valencia could be an option at right-back as well.