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Premier League

Ferguson: Giggs could return in time to face Milan

Sir Alex Ferguson said last night that Ryan Giggs might be ready to play in the second leg of the Champions League tie against Milan at Old Trafford next month despite fracturing his arm at Aston Villa on Wednesday night.

The Manchester United manager said: "It's a broken arm so we have put a plate in it that will stay there for two and a half weeks. He will be able to train all the time. He may be available for the second leg. It's a long haul but he could be ready."

The veteran Welshman suffered the injury in a collision with Steve Sidwell during the second half of the 1-1 draw and left Villa Park with his arm in a sling. United had intially indicated that Giggs would miss both legs of the Champions League last-16 tie with Milan as well as the Carling Cup final with Villa at Wembley on 28 February.

Apart from those high-profile fixtures, Giggs would also have missed Premier League games against Everton, West Ham and Wolves. That would have proved a huge blow to Ferguson, who is now clearly optimistic that Giggs will be able to bring his vast title-winning experience to bear on a crucial period in United's season.