Manchester United must continue without Ferdinand

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Champions and leaders Manchester United are without Rio Ferdinand for Saturday's match at Sunderland as the defender has failed to recover from a groin injury suffered playing for England.

Possible replacement Jonny Evans is a doubt also with a groin injury that he picked up in the midweek Champions League draw with Porto.

Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov is still sidelined with an ankle injury but Wayne Rooney is available despite a rib problem.

Meanwhile Liverpool have named captain Steven Gerrard in their squad to face Blackburn Rovers for the early kick-off on Saturday but he is unlikely to start after suffering a groin injury.

"Steven has some problems with his adductor," Benitez told the club's website. "He will be in the squad but we still have to decide whether he will start. If we were to lose him for the next few weeks it could be a big risk."

Blackburn Rovers are short of striker options with Paraguayan international Roque Santa Cruz (knee) and Jason Roberts (foot) likely to miss out. Norwegian midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen is also a doubt (calf).

Liverpool can heap the pressure on United by returning to the top of the table with victory over Blackburn, albeit only for a couple of hours.

Arsenal have defensive problems ahead of their trip to Wigan. Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia (ankle) and fullback Gael Clichy (back) are unavailable and William Gallas (ankle) is out for the season after they all picked up injuries in the Champions League draw with Villarreal on Tuesday.

Strikers Robin van Persie and Eduardo da Silva should be available after recovering from groin injuries.

Wigan's South Korean midfielder Cho Won-hee is out for the rest of the season with a calf injury and Egyptian striker Amr Zaki is not in contention after upsetting manager Steve Bruce with his late return from international duty.

Newcastle United temporary manager Alan Shearer is likely to have French defender Sebastien Bassong back for their match at relegation rivals Stoke City for Saturday's late kick-off.

Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham should play after recovering from a back injury but Salif Diao and Amdy Faye are both struggling to be available with injuries.

Shearer will see his team's match with Stoke as crucial to their Premier League survival.

West Ham United, still pushing for a European place, are without several first-team players for their London derby at Tottenham on Saturday. Strikers Carlton Cole (groin) and Dean Ashton (ankle) and midfielders Valon Behrami and Jack Collison (both knee) are all missing, with Scott Parker (groin) and Radoslav Kovac (thigh) doubtful.

Tottenham will be without Wilson Palacios who is suspended after being sent off in the 2-1 defeat by Blackburn on Saturday.