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Horncastle: Title race wide open

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Argentina's battle of Manchester

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May 4, 2009

United injury boost as Ferdinand is back in training

Manchester United have been given a major lift ahead of their Champions League semi-final with Arsenal as Rio Ferdinand returned to training.

It had been feared the England defender would miss Tuesday's second leg at the Emirates Stadium after suffering damage to his ribs and a bruised lung at Old Trafford last week.

But the presence of Ferdinand on the Carrington training ground on Monday suggests he will face Arsene Wenger's men.

Such was the damage Ferdinand suffered in a collision with Edwin van der Sar that he was coughing up blood in the United dressing room last Wednesday.

He spent the night in hospital, although scans revealed the £29.1m England international had not suffered any extensive damage to his ribs. Ferdinand was left out of Saturday's trip to Middlesbrough but given the importance of Tuesday's game, when United will attempt to defend a single goal lead, Sir Alex Ferguson wants the former West Ham skipper if at all possible.

Ferdinand's presence would be even more crucial if Patrice Evra did not play at Arsenal. The France full-back limped off at the Riverside with a leg injury and although Ferguson did claim Evra should be fine, he did not train in the open part of United's session.

If Evra was ruled out, Ferguson might consider switching last week's goalscoring hero John O'Shea to left-back and bring Rafael Da Silva into the right-back slot.

However, another option could be Gary Neville, who was also at training after a recent foot injury.

Wes Brown is out of contention so Ferguson's only other alternative would be to move Evans, the man likely to be replaced by Ferdinand, to left-back where he has won a number of caps for Northern Ireland.

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