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By ESPN Staff

Man Utd confirm 'winter break' in Saudi Arabia

Manchester United are to visit Saudi Arabia next month for a short 'winter break' Sir Alex Ferguson hopes will aid the Red Devils pursuit of major silverware.

Ferguson has long advocated a mid-season break, believing it would provide players with some much-needed rest after the congested Christmas fixture schedule.

And United's early elimination from the Carling Cup has allowed the Red Devils to take up an invitation from HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Sa'ud in Saudi Arabia in mid January.

United will leave immediately after tackling Reading at the Madejski Stadium on January 19, returning before an anticipated appearance in the FA Cup fourth round the following weekend.

In between, they will play an exhibition match against Al Hilal Al Saudi FC in Riyadh on January 21 as part of Sami Al Jaber's testimonial.

Ferguson has confirmed his entire first-team squad will be on the trip and said: 'This is a great chance for the players to escape the harsh realities of winter for a few days, while keeping up their fitness levels and taking in the exhibition match.

'I hope we will come back from this refreshed and ready to continue the challenge for honours.'