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By ESPN Staff

United expect Rio to recover for Barca showdown

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has played down concerns that Rio Ferdinand might be forced to miss the Champions League final.

Ferdinand missed both the Manchester derby and Wednesday's win at Wigan Athletic after injuring a calf muscle in the semi-final triumph over Arsenal.

The 30-year-old has now been ruled out of tomorrow's Old Trafford Premier League clash with the Gunners, when United just require a point to be crowned champions for a record-equalling 18th time.

With Ferguson confirming Ferdinand is doing no outdoor training at present due to the possibility of causing further damage, it is bound to raise fears the former West Ham United skipper will miss the eagerly-anticipated showdown with Barcelona in Rome on May 27.

However, the United boss is not too concerned and claimed Ferdinand could even figure in next weekend's trip to Hull City.

''We would like to have better news on Rio Ferdinand,'' admitted Ferguson. ''It is one of those calf niggles that usually take 10 days to two weeks (to recover from).

''Other than his work in the gymnasium he is not training at the moment. He won't play tomorrow but he should be fit for next Sunday's game at Hull and I am sure he will be available for the final.''

Other than Ferdinand, plus long-term casualties Owen Hargreaves and Wes Brown, Ferguson has a fully-fit squad at his disposal.

It means changes are certain from Wednesday night, with Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs and Carlos Tevez among those set to get a place in the starting line-up, with Ben Foster standing by if it is decided Edwin van der Sar needs a break.

''I will freshen up the team from Wednesday because it was a really gruelling game on a very heavy pitch,'' said Ferguson.


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