Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand out of Carling Cup final with back injury
Ferdinand, available again after a four-game suspension for violent conduct, missed Manchester United's 3-0 win against West Ham on Tuesday night and his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, revealed after the game that he expects the 31 year-old to miss 'a couple of games'. 'He got a twinge in his back [yesterday morning] in training,' said Ferguson. 'He had been training great with no mishaps at all, but you get these twinges and you cannot take a chance. He will not be ready [to face Aston Villa] on Sunday. Unfortunately he will miss a couple of games.' Related ArticlesManchester United 3 West Ham 0Premier League actionOwen: Rooney could extend my England exileGill is not the enemy withinUnited players rooting for NewcastleFerguson dismisses 'hare-brained' play-off planThat assessment all but rules Ferdinand out of the fixture at Wembley on Wednesday, the first since Fabio Capello appointed him John Terry's successor as captain, and leaves the Italian's defence in tatters just 100 days before England's World Cup campaign begins in Rustenburg. As well as the continuing doubts over Ferdinand's fitness, question marks remain over Terry's mental state following weeks of speculation about his private life, while Ashley Cole will be out until the very eve of the tournament with a broken ankle. Glen Johnson is due to return to training with Liverpool this week after two months out with a knee injury. Even Capello's reserves offer little solace, with Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka far from full fitness and Wayne Bridge's international future uncertain following the Terry scandal. Ferguson, though, will be more concerned that Ferdinand has played just six times this season in United's first choice central defensive partnership alongside Nemanja Vidic. The Serb made his first appearance this year last night, the Scot describing him as 'majestic in the air'. In truth, Vidic had little to concern himself with as two headed goals from Wayne Rooney and a late strike from Michael Owen took United to within a point of league leaders Chelsea, who face Manchester City this weekend. 'We hope City can do us a favour,' said Ferguson, of a side he has labelled 'cocky' and 'noisy neighbours' this season. 'They are a good side, chasing that fourth place. They have got a lot of good players. They will have a chance because Chelsea are coming back from a game against Inter.'
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