Gabriel Obertan eager to retain Manchester United place

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The Independent Football

Gabriel Obertan is crossing his fingers that he has done enough to stay in the Manchester United squad for Saturday's Premier League clash with Wolves.

Although even the most focused United player cannot help but notice the eagerly-awaited first Manchester derby of the campaign is looming at Eastlands in seven days' time, Obertan cannot afford to let himself get sidetracked.

Having scored his first United goal in last night's 3-0 win over Bursaspor and with Nani ruled out of the impending meeting with Mick McCarthy's men after suffering a groin injury in the first-half, Obertan's chance to make an impact at Old Trafford has finally arrived.

"It is going to be difficult to keep my place but I am going to work hard and make sure I have no regrets if I don't make the squad at the weekend," said the 21-year-old.

"But I am working towards making it and I hope the coach picks me."

Ferguson may end up with little option given the huge number of injuries he is carrying at the moment, even if Nani should not be sidelined for the same length of time as Antonio Valencia, who is out until next year with a double break of his ankle.

At least in Obertan and Bebe, he has two wide-men in scoring form following their contribution in Turkey, even if the former Bordeaux flyer is not that eager to discuss it.

"I am very proud," he said. "It was a quality performance, especially with so many players missing.

"The most important thing was to win but it is nice to get the goal to go alongside it."

Ferguson must now manage his remaining players carefully, knowing victory over Wolves is essential, whilst at the same time being the least arduous test of a week that follows up that trip to City with a journey down the M6 for a searching examination by Aston Villa.

A fifth clean sheet in eight matches provides reason for optimism after early season woes, with Ferguson acknowledging the return of Rio Ferdinand, who was excused yesterday's encounter after a punishing recent schedule, has had a major impact.

"We needed to cut out giving away those silly goals that were costing us points," said Ferguson.

"Gradually, we have managed to eradicate it.

"There are many reasons but the return of Rio Ferdinand has made a difference.

"He has such experience alongside Nemanja Vidic. It has given us a more stable situation and we don't look as fragile now."