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Evans available for Newcastle clash

Jonny Evans has been passed fit to take his place in Manchester United's defence at Newcastle on Sunday.

The centre-back sustained a dead leg in last week's 3-2 defeat to Tottenham and limped off in the 2-1 win over Cluj in the Champions League on Tuesday.

But Sir Alex Ferguson, who only has one other fully fit central defender, confirmed Evans is available to partner Rio Ferdinand at the Sports Direct Arena.

Had the Northern Irishman been out, then either midfielder Michael Carrick would have had to play in defence or 21-year-old Scott Wootton would have been given a Premier League debut.

Instead, the United manager expects his defensive injury crisis to ease with the news that Chris Smalling, who had broken a metatarsal bone in his foot, has resumed training.

The England international will not be available to face Newcastle but is on the comeback trail.

"Jonny Evans is okay," Ferguson said. "He had a dead leg that he picked up on Saturday against Tottenham and we just took him off towards the end [in Romania].

"Smalling has started training on the football side and that helps us particularly as we have problem at centre-back. [Phil] Jones is still out."

United will welcome back three experienced midfielders on Sunday with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Carrick all returning to the squad.

Scholes was rested for the trip to Cluj while Giggs and Carrick were sidelined by a virus.

Ferguson also hopes that Ashley Young, who has been out for a month with a knee problem, could be available for Stoke's trip to Old Trafford on October 20.

He added: "Young will start training while the internationals are on, particularly in the second week, and could at a stretch be back for the Stoke game."

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