• Capital One Cup

Ferguson hoping to rush Smalling back into action

ESPN staff
October 31, 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to rush Chris Smalling back into first-team action as he looks to relieve his current defensive crisis.

The Manchester United manager has just two senior centre-backs, Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans, to call upon at the minute - with Smalling, Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones all struggling with various injuries.

Smalling, who has yet to feature this season after breaking a metatarsal as he completed his recovery from a serious groin injury, is the closest to a return to first team action of the trio - and Ferguson will waste no time in restoring the former Fulham player to the starting line-up to ease the pressure on Ferdinand and Evans.

Smalling is unlikely to be fit enough to feature in Wednesday's Capital One Cup game against Chelsea, however, meaning youngsters Michael Keane and Scott Wootton could both feature.

"We will try to push Chris on quickly," the United manager said. "I don't think he will make Wednesday's game [against Chelsea], but I am sure he will be ready for the following week."

Jones is likely to be fit by the end of November, with the Scot adding: "There was some hope both he [Smalling] and Phil would be back for this busy schedule. Phil still has some running to do. The good news is they are not far away."

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