Banned Ferguson fights to be heard

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The Independent Online

Sir Alex Ferguson begins his two-match touchline ban today but the Manchester United manager admits that a raucous Fratton Park is a far from ideal place to be stuck in the stands.

The United manager was given the ban by the Football Association earlier this month for comments about referee Alan Wiley in the wake of last month's 2-2 draw with Sunderland and will also be absent from the dugout for Tuesday's Carling Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur.

Ferguson is allowed to speak to the players before the game and at half-time, unlike under the stricter Uefa bans, but acknowledges that the atmosphere will make it hard to stay in touch with his assistant, Mike Phelan.

"We've got the communication lines in place and the only problem we've got is that it's such a noisy place, Fratton Park," Ferguson said. "It's one of these old stadiums and the stand's a bit rickety nowadays.

"The directors' box is towards the home end where all that noise, the drums and whatever the hell else goes on in that place, comes from. It's a good racket, a terrific football stadium but we should be okay."

Ferguson is also hopeful that the defender Nemanja Vidic will extend his stay at Old Trafford beyond 2012. The Serbian centre-back has two years remaining on his current contract at the end of the season, the latest point where talks on extension are normally started, and has continually been linked with a move away. There have been reports that his wife is unhappy in Manchester.

But Vidic has claimed this week that he wants to stay at the club, and Ferguson said: "The time will always come when the good players' contracts come under review and I don't know where that came from but it's always good news if your players are happy."

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