Smalling's form allows United the luxury of resting Ferdinand

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Ryan Giggs could be fit for next week's Manchester derby. Giggs has played just once since the end of September after being struck down by a hamstring complaint and was among half a dozen key Manchester United players to stay at home ahead of tonight's Champions League encounter with Bursaspor.

However, the veteran Welshman returned to training last Thursday and is in contention for the trip to Eastlands on 10 November, a game which has now taken on greater significance given the pressure that is mounting on Roberto Mancini.

"Ryan started training last Thursday," confirmed Ferguson yesterday. "It was just general stuff with the physios. He should be ready in 10 to 14 days but it is possible he could be ready for the derby."

However, Ferguson is sticking to his assessment that Wayne Rooney will miss out, even though the England striker has started training again after his brief break in Dubai to recover from his much publicised ankle injury.

"He did a bit of running yesterday for the first time," said Ferguson. "I was quite surprised and he is keen to get back. But we are monitoring the situation with the lad. He is just jogging and not doing much but when players can start jogging it gives you better circulation than just being in the gym. But I still think it will be three weeks."

Ferguson also confirmed four players – Anderson, Jonny Evans, Darron Gibson and Federico Macheda – have missed out this week due to a virus that has hit the United squad, while Michael Owen is still missing with a hamstring injury.

Another absentee is Rio Ferdinand, who insists he has not been omitted due to his long-standing back complaint, but Ferguson acknowledged a degree of caution was being taken.

"We have decided to leave him at home," said Ferguson. "He has come on very well in the last few weeks but the form of Chris Smalling makes it easier for me in that respect."

Smalling will partner Nemanja Vidic in the centre of defence in Ferdinand's absence, as he did against the Turks at Old Trafford two weeks ago, a comfortable 1-0 win for United.

Bursapor, the Turkish champions, have yet to score in their debut season in the Champions League. They have lost all three of their games, but Michael Carrick insists there will be no complacency in the United ranks.

"We've got to go to Turkey – it's a long journey, it's a different atmosphere and we'll be playing against players we don't see week in, week out. That brings its own challenges," the England international said. "We're well prepared but some of the games are new to us and it's an experience. It's not going to be easy, but we're in a great position overall in the group and hopefully we can build on that."

Bursaspor coach Ertugrul Saglam said his team have struggled to manage the step up from domestic football to the Champions League. "There is a huge difference in quality between the rest of the group and our squad," said Saglam, who has a full-strength squad to choose from.

"In Turkey, we became successful in a very short period of time and all of a sudden we found ourselves competing in the Champions League. It is difficult to challenge the opponents we have."

Bursaspor, who are known as the Green Crocodiles, can at least take some comfort from their domestic form. They are undefeated this season and yet again lead the Turkish league with 24 points from 10 games.

Ferguson believes moving on to 10 points with a victory over Bursapor, who last season became the first team outside Turkey's big four to win the domestic title, will guarantee United qualification even though they could still be caught by Valencia and Rangers.

Three key clashes

Chris Smalling v Sercan Yildirim

Without the absent Rio Ferdinand, understudy Chris Smalling is expected to make his third Champions League start of the current campaign. Although the Turkish champions are yet to score in the competition, striker Yildirim's pace and movement will provide a stern test for the ex-Fulham defender.

Luis Nani v Gokcek Vederson

In-form winger Nani, scorer of the only goal in the home fixture two weeks ago, has struck five times for United this season and is beginning to turn his potential into match-winning performances. Left-back Vederson will be looking to subdue the Portuguese talisman for longer than he managed at Old Trafford.

Darren Fletcher v Ivan Ergic

The combative Scot, who missed the 2008-09 final due to suspension, is the engine-room of United's midfield, providing the destructive, ball-winning skills vital for European success. He will need to be at his best to prevent Ergic linking up with Yildirim and adding to his recent run of four league goals.

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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.

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn