United boss plays down striker injury fear

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has played down fears Michael Owen will be sidelined for an extended period after sustaining a groin injury in training this week.

Reports had suggested the 31-year-old striker could miss the remainder of the season but Ferguson insists the damage is not serious and while Owen will miss Saturday's FA Cup tie with Crawley at Old Trafford, he could be available for Wednesday's Champions League trip to Marseille.

"Michael suffered a small injury during the week which will force him out tomorrow (against Crawley)," said Ferguson. "It is disappointing because I was going to play him but there is no point taking a risk and he could be available for the Marseille game on Wednesday."

Ferguson also confirmed central defensive duo Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans will not be available to face United's non-league opponents, whilst he expects Park Ji-sung to be out of action until next month with a hamstring injury.


"He got it in the last minute of training last Friday," said Ferguson. "It is a blow because we missed him during January because of the Asian Cup and now we will miss him until March."

Meanwhile, the United boss claimed there was no news to report on a new contract for Patrice Evra, even though reports originating in France claimed the full-back had agreed a new four-year deal.

"There is nothing to report there at all," he said.

Ferguson was happy to expand on Antonio Valencia, who broke his ankle in September and is edging towards a first-team return.

"Antonio has done a full week with the reserves doing non-contact work," said Ferguson.

"Everything is right about him. We would hope he would get into contact work with the reserves and join us by the end of next week."

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Michael Owen
Premier League
Manchester United

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