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Oct 16, 2009

Wayne Rooney ruled out for United

A calf injury has ruled Wayne Rooney out of Manchester United's game with Bolton on Saturday and Dimitar Berbatov could also be absent, raising real fears of an attacking crisis for Sir Alex Ferguson.

• All the team news ahead of the weekend

Rooney missed England's victory over Belarus on Wednesday having sustained a calf problem during his country's defeat to Ukraine last weekend and the injury will also impact on his club's fortunes. The striker will miss the game against Bolton at Old Trafford and is also a doubt for the midweek trip to play CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.

Having scored a hat-trick for Bulgaria on Wednesday, United would naturally turn to Berbatov in Rooney's absence but the striker may not be available for the visit of Bolton as his partner has given birth and Ferguson is waiting to assess his frame of mind.

However, Michael Owen is available following a groin problem and Edwin van der Sar will also make his first appearance of the season when replacing Ben Foster in goal.

"Calf injuries can be troublesome,'' said Ferguson. "We are trying our best to get him fit for Wednesday but I have my doubts on that. But Wayne should be fit for the Liverpool game [on October 25]. We know how difficult these things can be so we will not be taking any chances with the Moscow trip.

"Edwin plays tomorrow. He had a reserve game ten days ago and has come through that fine. He has been training for quite a spell now but with a hand injury you don't take any chances and that game has given him a good confidence boost."

Meanwhile, Ferguson has also revealed that Owen Hargreaves could return to the United first team in as little as three weeks having returned to the club last month after undergoing surgery on both knees.

Tendinitis has prevented Hargreaves from playing for United since the end of the 2007-08 season but the midfielder, who still hopes to represent England at the World Cup finals, could in theory play a part when United visit Chelsea on November 8.

"Owen is doing a lot of good work now,'' he said. "He is making great progress, which we are very pleased about. It is not a thing you have to rush because he has been out a year.

"We have to monitor it a bit more closely but he is giving us good signs. He should be back in the first-team level in three weeks from now, easily."

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