Ferguson optimistic about Rooney recovery

Ferguson optimistic about Rooney recovery

Alex Ferguson is crossing his fingers that Wayne Rooney can keep his Manchester United absence down to a minimum.

Rooney famously returned within eight days from the ankle damage he suffered in the first leg of last season's Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich.

The sharpshooter has scored just once for United since, and he will not have the chance to do so again until at least October 16 after Ferguson confirmed Rooney faces a "two to three week" spell on the sidelines with the injury he suffered at Bolton on Sunday.

At the far edge of that timescale, Rooney would miss a Champions League clash with Bursaspor and potentially, the trip to Stoke on October 24.

But Ferguson will hope to have his £27m (€31.5m) forward back for the Old Trafford encounter with West Brom on October 16, which would mean after tonight he would only miss two games - and one of those is England's Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro.

"Wayne has done quite well with his recovery from injury in the past," said the United boss, ahead of tonight's encounter with Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium.

"It is a straightforward ankle injury. And it is not the same one he did in Munich."

It will be a blow to Fabio Capello given he has already lost Frank Lampard, Theo Walcott, Michael Dawson, Jermain Defoe and Bobby Zamora in a growing injury list, plus James Milner through suspension.

However, it could be argued it is the best thing Rooney needs after an awful period, during which time his private life has been thrown into turmoil and his form has collapsed.

In addition to the loss of Rooney, Paul Scholes has also been consigned to a 10-day period on the sidelines, where he joins Ryan Giggs and Antonio Valencia.

At least Ferguson has Rio Ferdinand to call upon for this evening's encounter, with United looking to bounce back from their failure to beat Rangers in their opening game a fortnight ago.

On the basis that Ferdinand stood up for the vast majority of the two-hour flight to Valencia, his fragile back still needs careful attention, which possibly explains Ferguson's reluctance to confirm the 31-year-old's place in his starting line-up, even if United have conceded nine goals in their last five league games, when the central defender has been missing on every occasion.

"Rio is much fitter now," said Ferguson.

"He has had plenty of training, a couple of reserve games and matches against Rangers and Scunthorpe.

"He was out for five months so he still probably needs another game or so.

"But the important thing is he is coming back and we look forward to having him back."

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