Rio Ferdinand is facing a three-match ban after being charged with violent conduct by the FA.
The FA took the action after viewing video footage of the Manchester United defender's clash with Hull City winger Craig Fagan during the second-half of Saturday's 4-0 win at Old Trafford.
Ferdinand, whose elbow or forearm appeared to connect with Fagan in an off-the-ball incident, has until Wednesday evening to respond.
As the case is being dealt with under the FA's fast-track system, Ferdinand could either plead guilty and accept the three-match suspension or challenge the decision, in which case a disciplinary hearing will be held on Thursday.
Even if Ferdinand does admit his guilt, he could still figure in Wednesday night's Carling Cup semi-final with Manchester City at Old Trafford and begin his punishment on Sunday, when the Red Devils visit Arsenal.
That seems a more logical move that beginning the suspension immediately, as United also have the option to do, a move that would rule Ferdinand out of the games against City, Arsenal and Portsmouth at Old Trafford on February 6.
If Ferdinand plays against City the third match of any suspension would be at Aston Villa on February 10.
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The danger with appealing would be that the FA might regard it as frivolous andincrease the 31-year-old's punishment.
Losing Ferdinand would be a bitter blow for Ferguson considering the defender has only just returned from three months out with a back injury.
Although Ferguson felt the £29.1million centre-half was not unduly tested against Hull, he accepted Ferdinand's presence had a galvanising effect on his back four, which he was hoping would continue against City.
'Rio's performance level is important,' said Ferguson. 'It is important to have him back because getting the centre-halves fit is key to our progress this season.'
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