Phil Jones is confident Blackburn's fortunes will improve - but not until 2012.

The Manchester United defender is hoping to shake off an illness in time to face his former club for the first time since his £17million summer departure. And with Premier League leaders Manchester City not in action until New Year's Day, United have the opportunity to steal a march on their local rivals.

Jones knows that scenario would condemn Blackburn to bring in the new year as the top flight's basement boys but he is confident they will eventually haul themselves out of trouble, telling United Review: "I'm still a massive fan and have a lot of friends at the club."

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Phil Jones
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