Anderson injury blow for United

Anderson out for United


The Brazilian has been plagued by fitness problems this season and was missing when Manchester United flew to Spain for their Europa League last-16 second leg tie with Athletic Bilbao.

United trail 3-2 from the first leg and Ferguson confirmed that Rio Ferdinand will partner Jonny Evans in central defence as Phil Jones (flu) is missing and Chris Smalling is only considered fit enough for the bench after reopening a head wound in the Old Trafford encounter last week.

However, Antonio Valencia returned to the squad.

Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed Nani had sat out Sunday's Premier League win over West Brom with "bruising" suffered during a training-ground knock.

With Nani currently missing, the return of Valencia is good news. The Ecuador wide-man was in impressive form until he suffered a hamstring injury in Amsterdam four weeks ago.

As United have since assumed top spot in the Premier League, Ferguson is keen to have as many men as possible available for the run-in.

The Red Devils' 20-man travelling squad included teenager Paul Pogba, surely a further sign that the young French midfielder is ready to spurn the offer of a lucrative contract from Juventus.

Paul Scholes was there too, although whether the veteran starts is open to debate given United are 3-2 down after the home leg and face a tricky trip on Sunday to relegation-threatened Wolves, who were bottom of the table when they beat Ferguson's men at Molineux last season.

Under the circumstances, there are plenty who think Thursday's tie is one worth sacrificing, although Ashley Young is not one of them, even if United have never recovered from a home first-leg deficit in a European knockout game.

"It is unusual that we find ourselves in this position but there is a great team spirit here and everyone is full of confidence," said the winger. "Our form in general makes us believe we can score wherever we play. Our attacking play has been fantastic of late and we believe we can score the two goals we need."

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