• Premier League

Evans return boosts United's defensive options

ESPN staff
February 1, 2013
Jonny Evans may return to action against Fulham © PA Photos

Manchester United centre-back Jonny Evans is in contention to return to the first-team fold at Fulham on Saturday after returning to training following a spell out with a hamstring injury.

Evans, 25, was a mainstay in the United side for the first half of the season alongside Rio Ferdinand, but hasn't featured since the FA Cup draw with West Ham on January 5 because of a hamstring complaint.

But the Northern Irishman has now recovered and could be involved at Craven Cottage, giving Sir Alex Ferguson a full complement of centre-back options along with Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

Should Evans return it would leave Ashley Young as United's only injury absentee, with Ferguson saying: "Ashley is still not available but hopefully Jonny will train today, which will give us another option. That is good news."

Ferdinand is expected to return to United's starting line-up after coming on as a substitute in the 2-1 victory over Southampton on Wednesday - a match Ferguson was relieved to escape from with three points.

"The effort Southampton put in on Wednesday is a reminder to us that you get three points for every game, not just for beating teams at the top of the league," the United boss said.

"We've had great examples of that over the years. Last year we lost to Blackburn Rovers at home. You could quite easily say that cost us the league. I don't expect my players to be complacent, but Wednesday is obviously a great reminder."

Ferguson is wary of the potential threat posed by a Fulham side who beat West Ham on Wednesday, saying: "Fulham's home record is very good and has been for a few years. They are one of the few clubs who get full houses every week.

"It's a healthily run club and you always get a good atmosphere, which is important. Hopefully we get the result we want because we are at the stage in the season where every game becomes important."

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