Beckham confident of fitness for Roma decider

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The Independent Football

David Beckham is confident he will be fit for Real Madrid's vital match against Roma tomorrow. The England captain was substituted during Real's La Liga draw with Villarreal on Sunday after aggravating a foot injury in a tackle.

Real need to beat Roma at the Stadio Olimpico to be sure of reaching the last 16 of the Champions' League, and Beckham believes he can play his part. "I hurt my foot in training and I played because I thought I would be all right but the tackle aggravated it," Beckham said. "I will have more treatment but I think I should be OK for Wednesday."

Ruud van Nistelrooy has been ruled out of Manchester United's Champions' League tie against Fenerbahce tomorrow. The striker has a calf injury and his manager Sir Alex Ferguson is taking no chances as his team have already qualified for the knock-out stages. Van Nistelrooy sat out the victory over Southampton on Saturday and is aiming to returnfor next Monday's Premiership match at Fulham.

"Ruud has this injury at the bottom of his calf and it is proving troublesome," Ferguson said yesterday. "We felt we had to leave him out against Southampton and Fenerbahce to try and get him back 100 per cent for the Fulham game."

Ferguson is to make changes for the game in Turkey, just as he did for last week's League Cup triumph over Arsenal. "We'll rest a few of Saturday's team," Ferguson said. "The boys who played in the Carling Cup against Arsenal on Wednesday will get a chance."

Werder Bremen and Valencia prepared for their Group G Champions' League match tonight with domestic victories at the weekend but it will be the German side that approach the game in more optimistic mood after putting six goals past the bottom side in the Bundesliga, SC Freiburg. A draw or even a 2-1 defeat against Valencia would be enough to take the German champions through. They could even steal top spot from Internazionale should the Italians fail to beat Anderlecht, an unlikely scenario, given that the Belgian club have been eliminated with no points.

Werder have an injury doubt over their striker Ivan Klasnic, who has a damaged shoulder, but that is unlikely to worry the club's coach Thomas Schaaf after his forwards gave such a devastating display against Freiburg.

"We could go there just looking for a goalless draw but we know we have a lot of potential in attack," Schaaf said. "We should take advantage of that. We will avoid the temptation to sit back and defend."

The Spanish champions Valencia have bounced back from a wretched run by putting together a four-match winning streak but they are still far from their best.

A succession of injury problems has blighted the team's progress this season and their coach Claudio Ranieri will once again have to make do without several key players for the game, which they must win to qualify. The versatile Miguel Angel Angulo and central midfielder David Albelda are still struggling with thigh problems, while left winger Vicente and centre-back Roberto Ayala are unlikely to play even though they are in the final stages of recovery from long-term injuries.

But Ranieri says he is encouraged by his side's form. "We are still having problems but the most important thing is that the victories have given us a valuable boost ahead of the Werder game," he said.

Valencia, who have qualified for the knock-out stages every time they have played in the Champions' League, will need to win 1-0 or by two clear goals to secure a place in the last 16.

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