Fergie hints at Rio return

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Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that defender Rio Ferdinand could make a return from injury to face Stoke City on Tuesday night.

The England international centre-back was an unused substitute during Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round, and missed the trip to the Emirates Stadium for the 2-1 win over Arsenal the previous weekend with a back problem.

But, having returned to fitness for the Red Devils, Ferguson admits his veteran defender is now ready to be considered for a start when the Potters travel to Old Trafford tomorrow.

"Rio only had one real training session on Friday and we couldn't gamble with only that preparation behind him [for the FA Cup clash]," the Scot told MUTV.

"He'll train tomorrow and on Monday and could be ready for Tuesday."

In other injury news, striker Wayne Rooney and winger Luis Nani are both expected to miss the midweek Barclays Premier League clash but return to face Chelsea on Sunday.

Sir Alex Ferguson is reported to have told ITV1 that the pair should both be involved in the trip to Stamford Bridge, but that England international Phil Jones will miss a longer period with an ankle injury sustained against the Gunners last weekend.

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