Brown ready for opener
Wes Brown is set to return for Manchester United when the Premier League champions begin the defence of their title against Birmingham at Old Trafford on Sunday. Brown suffered a thigh problem during a pre-season game against Boca Juniors last month. However, he has come through training unscathed this week and may be pressed into service by Sir Alex Ferguson given a clutch of defensive injuries that have hit the Red Devils camp. Nemanja Vidic had already been ruled out by a calf problem and while Gary Neville has, like Brown, trained this week, he is further behind in his preparation having flown home from United's Far East tour with a calf injury and will not be considered. In addition, Jonny Evans aggravated an ankle injury he suffered during Sunday's Community Shield defeat to Chelsea when he began international duty with Northern Ireland. Ritchie De Laet and Fabio could occupy full-back positions with John O'Shea switching to central defence to partner Rio Ferdinand, who tweaked a back muscle on England duty in Holland on Wednesday.
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