Ferguson relieved after Jones handed fitness boost‎


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The Independent Football

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he "feared the worst" when Phil Jones had to be replaced at Fulham on Wednesday.

Jones has been given the all-clear to face Wigan on Boxing Day after X-rays revealed the teenager did not suffer a broken cheekbone when he was caught by Clint Dempsey in the first-half of a 5-0 win.

It is a welcome piece of good news for United, who have been ravaged by injury in recent weeks and who will be missing Ashley Young with a knee injury for an extended spell.

However, Ferguson admitted his concern when he first noted Jones' condition.

"We feared the worst," he said. "At the time it looked like a real sore one.

"He had lost his vision for that period when he came back on the field. Thankfully it is good news.

"He has got a bit of swelling in his jaw but he should be okay for Monday."

Jones initially tried to continue but his eventual departure heralded Young's ill-fated arrival.

"He has got a knee injury that will keep him out for a few weeks," said Ferguson.

"He was tripped and wasn't in position to go into the next tackle.

"He was half falling at the time and got a real clump.

"It wasn't a bad tackle. It was just hard."

Young joins an extensive casualty list that is easing slightly with the recovery of Brazilian full-back Rafael from a hamstring injury but not as quickly as Ferguson would have hoped at this congested phase of the season.

Michael Owen (thigh), Tom Cleverley (ankle) and Anderson (knee) have all been absent for a number of weeks and show no immediate sign of a return.

"It is not great news about the other ones," said Ferguson.

"Michael, Tom and Anderson are still on the sick list.

"It is not an easy spell for us but we have to get through it."