Smalling set for Man United return
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has indicated that Chris Smalling is set to make his first appearance of the season in Wednesday night's Champions League Group H clash with Braga.
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12. Chris Smalling
Smalling, sidelined this term by a broken metatarsal, was included in United's travelling party for the game at the Estadio AXA having stepped up his rehabilitation in training.
And speaking at Tuesday evening's pre-match press conference, Ferguson revealed that he is intending for the England international to be "involved".
Asked for an update on Smalling and fellow defender Phil Jones, who is also yet to play this campaign due to back and knee problems, Ferguson said: "Phil Jones will start training with us next Monday which is good news - he is making really good progress now.
"Chris Smalling is with the party and will be involved tomorrow.
"That is really good news because as we know, since the start of the season, we've been operating on the borderline in terms of certain defenders having to play all the time, and also having to play (midfielder) Michael Carrick as a centre-back.
"They can only help us with that - those two are outstanding young defenders and it will give us a fantastic squad to take on all our challenges."
Also missing the trip to Portugal along with Jones, defender Nemanja Vidic and midfielder Shinji Kagawa (both knee), are central midfield pair Darren Fletcher and Paul Scholes.
Asked about Fletcher and Scholes, who is 38 this month, Ferguson explained: "Fletcher had a little bit of a cold on Sunday and there is no point in taking him travelling with a cold.
"With Scholes, for the last few weeks I have been resting him, looking to freshen him up a bit.
"I'm just taking care of an old man, that's all!"