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Ferdinand and Evans miss Turkey trip

Manchester United will be without defensive duo Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans for their Champions League clash with Bursaspor in Turkey on Tuesday night.

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Ferdinand played the full 90 minutes of the Red Devils' weekend victory over Tottenham and, with no official reason for his omission given by United, it was thought he had been spared the four-hour flight due to fears it could inflame his long-standing back problem.

However, Ferdinand bristled at suggestions his absence was precautionary and Tweeted: "Just finished training this morning, good hard running session done. Reports that I'm not travelling to Turkey coz it will affect my back are once again WRONG, where do they get this rubbish from?"

With Evans also missing, United skipper Nemanja Vidic is set to be partnered by Chris Smalling, and Sir Alex Ferguson insists he has no qualms about fielding the former Fulham man.

"Rio has come on very well in the last few weeks but the form of Chris Smalling makes it very easy for me in that respect," Ferguson said. "Some players come to Old Trafford and take time but fortunately for the lad he has taken to it very quickly.

"He has adapted. He is receptive to training. He is intelligent. He has the physical part, is tall and quick and a good passer of the ball. The stage we are at with him is to give him as much experience as we can."

With crucial Premier League matches against Wolves and at Manchester City and Aston Villa to follow in the next fortnight, the 31-year-old's experienced presence in the United defence will be crucial.

Victory at Bursaspor could go a long way to securing United's place in the knockout stages of the Champions League but Ferguson seems confident his Group C leaders can get a result without the England captain.

Federico Macheda and Anderson, plus long-term victims Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Michael Owen, were also missing from United's 20-man squad.

"Ryan started training last Thursday," Ferguson said. "It was just general stuff with the physios. He should be ready in 10 to 14 days but it is possible he could be ready for the derby.

"Wayne did a bit of running yesterday for the first time. I was quite surprised and he is keen to get back, but we are monitoring the situation with the lad.

"He is just jogging and not doing much but when players can start jogging it gives you better circulation than just being in the gym, but I still think it will be three weeks."


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