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Manchester United Await Fitness of Defenders Ahead of Real Madrid Clash

February 11th, 2013 at 2:30 PM
By Glenn Hamilton

Manchester United are sweating on the fitness of two key defenders ahead of their Champions League round of 16 clash with Real Madrid on Wednesday. Jonny Evans and Phil Jones had to be taken off in the second half of the Everton match and are doubts for the midweek game.

'Old Trafford, Manchester' photo (c) 2006, Sean MacEntee - license:

It had been reported last week that Jones had been diagnosed with shingles and the defender missed an England under 21 game but the United player was available for the Everton match. Jones put in a good performance, man marking Everton striker Marouane Fellaini and keeping the big-haired danger man quiet for most of the match. Unfortunately Jones had to be taken off in the second half after the defender was involved in a tough challenge.

Evans, who has been struggling with a hamstring injury lately had a solid game in United's defense but also had to be subbed off with only nine minutes to go. The defender looked uncomfortable upon coming off and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has stated that the Northern Ireland defender was suffering from a cramp.

"Phil Jones got a kick on the calf and we will have to monitor that," Ferguson said. "Jonny Evans got a bit of a cramp, and I think he's just lacked a couple of games. He only had 45 minutes for Northern Ireland [in midweek]. He had to travel all the way to Malta for 45 minutes, so we will see what he is like."

Ferguson would like to have all of his defenders fit and at his disposal ahead of the mouth-watering second round tie against Real Madrid in the Champions League. The Scot is confident that his two injured defenders will not be out for long and has Chris Smalling to rely on should they have to miss the game. Ashley Young also remains a doubt for Wednesday even though the midfielder supposedly returned to training. Young did not make the bench for the Everton match so he remains a serious doubt for the Real game.

Tags: Ashley Young, Jonny Evans, Manchester, Manchester United, Phil Jones, Premier League, Real Madrid, Sir Alex Ferguson, Soccer

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