Ferdinand must prove fitness ahead of final

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Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand could miss out on a starting place in the Champions League final unless he is fit to play in the last match of the season on Sunday.

The England center back has missed the last three matches since sustaining a calf injury in the Champions League semifinal second leg at Arsenal on 5 May.

But manager Alex Ferguson is optimistic the 30-year-old Ferdinand will be available for the Premier League champion's visit to Hull, three days before playing Barcelona in Rome.

"I am hoping he will be fit for Sunday. If not, he is doubtful for Wednesday, that is for sure," Ferguson said today. "I think he needs a game going into the Champions League final because him having not played for three weeks is too much.

"The plan is for him to start training with us tomorrow and once we get football training we will have a better idea of his availability for Sunday. I think he is probably fit to play Wednesday but whether I would start him without a game is another matter."