Manchester United's Fletcher desperate to avoid surgery

Darren Fletcher is hoping a pain-easing injection will delay the need for ankle surgery until next summer.

The Manchester United midfielder returned to action after a month on the sidelines in Tuesday's six-goal thriller with CSKA Moscow.

It should mean Fletcher will face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, when United attempt to depose the current Premier League leaders.

However, the Scotland star knows he will still be experiencing an element of discomfort from a long-standing injury he aggravated against Sunderland last month, which he accepts will eventually consign him to surgery.

"A bit of bone has broken off the back of my ankle and stuck out about an inch," he revealed.

"Every time I bend it is causing a bit of pain so I have had an injection to clear it up for a while.

"It should be okay to the end of the season but the plan is to get me through to the summer and then do something then."

Scotland's failure to qualify for next year's World Cup Finals in South Africa provides the perfect gap for Fletcher to have the operation.

"I have had it for a couple of years now and the build-up of fluid and other medical things the doctors know more about than me has been constantly aggravating it," he said.

"Striking a ball or bending the ankle in a flexed position or pushing off it hurts.

"It got to the point where it was too sore to train and play. Something had to be done and I had the injection."

It would seem certain Fletcher will be one of the first names on Sir Alex Ferguson's team-sheet on Sunday.

Certainly, United missed Fletcher's battling qualities against Liverpool a fortnight ago, with the hole his injury left proving just as troublesome to fill as it did in Rome last May, when Barcelona ran riot in the Champions League final.

Ferguson is unlikely to leave his team similarly exposed at the weekend now Fletcher is a proven top-class performer.

For a player whose early days in the Red Devils' first-team were dismissed rather crudely, the plaudits that have followed recently must sound nice.

But Fletcher insists he is not taking them too seriously.

"I take the compliments with a pinch of salt," he said.

"I enjoy these matches as much as anyone and I put pressure on myself to perform more than anyone does.

"The challenge of playing against the top-class players that Chelsea have is one I look forward to and I will be doing my best to win the match.

"But I am not going to make or break a game like this."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific