Rio Ferdinand could feature for Manchester United against Chelsea

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has not entirely ruled Rio Ferdinand out of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Chelsea, but the deposed England captain is more likely to return from injury next weekend.

Ferdinand has not made an appearance since suffering a calf problem in the warm-up prior to the Barclays Premier League defeat at Wolves at the beginning of February.

So slow had been the 32-year-old's progress that Ferguson had raised doubts over his ability to get back on the pitch before the end of the season.

However, Ferdinand has resumed training this week and, so far, come through without a reaction.

It leaves Ferguson with a dilemma about whether to push Ferdinand through another session tomorrow - when his team-mates are tackling West Ham at Upton Park - in the knowledge that if he comes through without a hitch, he could be rushed back to face Carlo Ancelotti's men, or hold him back until next week, meaning it will be the Premier League encounter with Fulham that will mark his return.

"Rio has started training," said Ferguson.

"He has only been training two days and then just a light session today.

"I have to decide whether we bring in him tomorrow, or give him a day off and start him on Wednesday again.

"He is more likely to be fit for Fulham."

Yet Ferguson may ultimately conclude it is worth taking a gamble given none of his other injured defenders will be back to face Chelsea, whilst a few may be available for Fulham.

Rafael, John O'Shea and Wes Brown could all tackle Mark Hughes' men. But none of that trio will make the trip to Stamford Bridge, when Jonny Evans will be available as he serves a three-match domestic ban.

None of this helps his team selection tomorrow, when Ferguson accepts filling the right-back slot is going to be a major issue.

"We have to solve that and find the right solution," he said.

It seems almost certain Brazilian Fabio will fill the void, with Chris Smalling partnering skipper Nemanja Vidic in central defence.

At least Ferguson finally has options in midfield.

Park Ji-sung could make his first start since he left for Asian Cup duty in Qatar, whilst Anderson is likely to be on the bench at Upton Park after recovering from a knee injury it was initially suggested would rule him out for the season.

However, Darren Fletcher is still troubled by a virus, whilst Owen Hargreaves' United career now looks to be at an end following the shoulder problem he picked up in training.

"It is another huge setback for the lad," said Ferguson.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home