Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Rio Ferdinand to win his FA violent conduct appeal, insisting his defender was the victim rather than the aggressor in a weekend clash against Hull.
The defender is contesting a charge over his clash with Craig Fagan during Manchester United's 4-0 victory over the Tigers at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Fagan was left floored after being struck by Ferdinand's forearm in an off-the-ball incident, but Ferguson claims his player was just trying to protect himself from being 'wrestled and punched'.
The England man would have been automatically banned for three matches, missing Wednesday night's Carling Cup victory against Manchester City, if he had accepted the charge.
But an FA disciplinary hearing on Thursday could now even increase the extension if they feel the appeal is spurious.
Victim: Rio Ferdinand was cleared to play against City - and accidentally caught former team-mate Carlos Tevez
However, Ferguson said: 'If he gets a fair hearing Rio has a good chance.
'He was getting wrestled and punched. There were all sorts of things happening.
'He was just trying to get himself free of it and unfortunately caught the lad on the back of the neck.'
If the three-match ban is upheld, Ferdinand would miss Sunday's Barclays Premier League showdown at Arsenal, plus matches against Portsmouth and Aston Villa. Extra sanction could rule him out of the trip to Everton on February 20.
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