Phil Jones and Chris Smalling return for Manchester United

 

Sir Alex Ferguson expects to have Phil Jones and Chris Smalling back for Manchester United's Premier League trip to Arsenal on Sunday.

The pair both sat out last week's home win over Bolton after failing to recover from the after-effects of a collision during the previous week's Manchester derby.

However, Ferguson reported both have trained this week and should be involved at the Emirates Stadium.

"Phil and Chris will be fit," said Ferguson.

Ferguson also confirmed long-term absentees Ashley Young and Tom Cleverley had started doing some "serious running".

"They are doing a good running programme at the moment and their fitness levels are good," said the United boss.

And for Cleverley at least, that means a potential comeback in the middle of February.

"I am hopeful in 10 days' time, he will be playing football on the training side of it.

"That is the plan anyway, unless there is any recurrence. We can kick on and then it depends how he does in the training.

"His fitness levels should be fine and if that is correct, he could cope right away. You are talking about a week."

Meanwhile, Ferguson refused to discuss controversial 18-year-old Ravel Morrison, who hardly did himself any favours last week with his immediate response to the United manager's claim that he had turned down a contract offer.

Morrison has subsequently been the subject of various stories, and has himself played down links with Manchester City.

"I have nothing to say about that," he said.

"It is nothing to do with a game against Arsenal."

But Ferguson did play down claims that negotiations over a new contract for striker Danny Welbeck had hit a stumbling block.

"There is no issue," he said.

"We know the situation well with Danny. There is nothing to worry about there."

Welbeck is expected to have recovered from a minor knock sustained as he scored against Bolton in time to face the Gunners this weekend.

It will be the first time the two sides have met since United's staggering 8-2 win over Arsene Wenger's men in August.

"They have recovered well from that," said Ferguson.

"They have had a really good spell of results and qualified for the next stage of the Champions League, despite having quite a few injuries.

"It will not be easy."

PA

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