Rio Ferdinand has appealed against the violent conduct charge levelled against him for his clash with Hull's Craig Fagan and will therefore be allowed to play against Manchester City in the Carling Cup. However, he risks increasing any ban if he is found guilty.
Ferdinand has decided to plead 'not guilty' to the Football Association's charge for swinging his arm at Fagan during the 4-0 win on Saturday, despite being advised not to by the club's disciplinary experts.
The decision (which had to be made by 6pm on Wednesday) means he will be able to face Roberto Mancini's City side at Old Trafford in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup, but risks being handed a four-match ban later this week if the charge is proven.
The FA's disciplinary committee will review the case within 24 hours and, if they find Ferdinand guilty, are able to increase a possible three-match suspension by an extra game because of his ''frivolous'' appeal - as was the case with Sunderland's Michael Turner last month.
This would result in Ferdinand missing league games against Arsenal, Portsmouth and Aston Villa, while the fourth match of any ban would take in United's away trip to Everton next month.
A Regulatory Commission will hear the charge on Thursday 28 January.