Rio Ferdinand will need to prove
his fitness for next week's Champions League final by playing in
Manchester United's Premier League game at Hull City on Sunday.
The central defender is struggling to recover from a calf
injury that has sidelined him for the last three games and
manager Alex Ferguson said time was running out for him to prove
his fitness for Wednesday's clash with Barcelona in Rome.
"I am hoping Rio will be fit for Sunday," Ferguson told
United's website. "If not then he's doubtful
for Wednesday. I think he needs a game.
"To go into a Champions League final without playing for
three weeks might be a bit much."
United, crowned Premier League champions last week, are
expected to field a weakened side for their final league game of
the season at Hull, who need a win to guarantee their survival
in the top flight, but Ferdinand will be involved if he is fit.
"The plan is for him to start training with the team on
Thursday," Ferguson added. "Once he starts on the football
training we will have a better idea about his availability for
Sunday. So hopefully he will be fit."
The 30-year-old Ferdinand's absence would be a blow for
United but Ferguson said the emergence of Jonny Evans eased his
worries about the England's defender's availability.
"I'd have no problem with it," said Ferguson. "I wouldn't be
bothered one bit about selecting Jonny for the final.
"He has had a fantastic season, the kid. He is 21, and he's
much like (Barcelona's) Gerard Pique - they grew up together
here. It would be a fitting tribute to our academy if both
players played in the final. It would be a nice touch."
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