Chelsea v Manchester United: Wayne Rooney unlikely to feature as striker could be out for up to three weeks with groin injury

David Moyes is without both Rooney and Robin van Persie and the England star could be out until January as he returns from a warm-weather break

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The Independent Football

Wayne Rooney looks certain to miss Manchester United’s crunch meeting with Chelsea this weekend, with the groin injury suffered by the England striker threatening to rule him out for up to three weeks.

Manager David Moyes confirmed that he sent Rooney to Egypt for a warm-weather break in an attempt to improve his condition, while the rest of the United squad were given the day off on Wednesday ahead of being assessed upon their return.

Rooney was expected to report back today, which will give United’s medical staff a clearer picture of how his recovery has gone, but it seems that it is not good news as he is unlikely to feature at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Moyes is already under pressure to deliver a top-four finish, and Rooney’s absence has been compounded by the addition of the thigh injury that is currently keeping fellow striker Robin van Persie on the sidelines.

Should Rooney be ruled out for the remainder of the month’s action, he could also miss the Premier League fixtures with Cardiff and Stoke, as well as the League Cup semi-final second leg against Sunderland next week, where United will attempt to overturn a 2-1 deficit at Old Trafford.

It was after the first leg loss that Moyes made comments questioning the officiating from referee Andre Marriner, where he was subsequently charged with misconduct. The Scot has accepted the charge from the Football Association and has requested a non-personal hearing from the commission who will decide what his punishment is.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers last week received an £8,000 fine for a similar charge in which he questioned the integrity of referee Lee mason during the defeat to Manchester City on Boxing Day. Moyes is likely to receive a similar sanction, with both Stoke’s Mark Hughes and Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho also required to cough up the same fee.

Heading into this weekend’s crucial encounter with the Blues, captain Nemanja Vidic has called for his side to use January to show their rivals that they are still capable of finishing in the top four come the end of the season.

“We have to win regularly and in the next month we will know exactly where we are,” said Vidic. “By the end of January and start of February we will show what our position is and what our capability is in the Premier League. Then, of course, the Champions League starts up again. This is an important time for us and we all want to do well.”

Vidic went on to back Moyes as he continues his attempt to lead United in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.

“The manager is a good character and does that [manages the squad] but it's up to the players too. We're a group and it's a group responsibility to deal with those situations,” added the Serbian defender.