United to appeal over two-match Rooney ban

League leaders accept charge but hope to have striker back for Cup semi-final
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Manchester United have accepted Wayne Rooney's FA charge for swearing, but have appealed against his two-match ban. The FA received a submission from the club and will hear the case this afternoon.

Rooney was charged on Monday after swearing into a television camera while celebrating a goal scored against West Ham during Saturday's 4-2 win. The charge carries a two-game suspension, which would rule him out of Saturday's Premier League game with Fulham and the following weekend's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City. United have appealed against the severity of this ban, and today's hearing may reduce it to allow him to play in the semi-final.

United play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their Champions League quarter-final first leg tonight. It is their first meeting in Europe with the London club since the 2008 Champions League final, which United won on penalties in in Moscow. Rooney missed training yesterday but Sir Alex Ferguson was confident of his participation. "He was having treatment," the manager explained, "it's the front of his shin, a really bad bruise, but we hope he'll be OK."

Ferguson was also confident about the availability of some of his defenders. "We have had some injury problems, particularly in the defensive positions but hopefully that is coming to an end," he said. "[Jonny] Evans is available probably. [Rio] Ferdinand has been training for over a week, but whether he is ready for this game I'm not sure. Rafa da Silva is available, he's been training for over a week after his hamstring, and [John] O'Shea and [Wes] Brown are back training, so definitely the situation is getting better."