Jones injury boost for United

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he “feared the worst”
when the youngster had to be replaced at Craven Cottage. Jones has
been given the all-clear to face Wigan on Boxing Day after X-rays
revealed the teenager did not suffer a broken cheekbone when he was
caught by Clint Dempsey in the first-half in midweek. It is a
welcome piece of good news for United, who have been ravaged by
injury in recent weeks and who will be missing Ashley Young with a
knee injury for an extended spell. However, Ferguson admitted his
concern when he first noted Jones’ condition. “We feared the
worst,” he said. “At the time, it looked like a real sore one. “He
had lost his vision for that period when he came back on the field.
Thankfully it is good news. “He has got a bit of swelling in his
jaw but he should be okay for Monday.” Jones initially tried to
continue but his eventual departure heralded Young’s ill-fated
arrival. “He has got a knee injury that will keep him out for a few
weeks,” said Ferguson. “He was tripped and wasn’t in position to go
into the next tackle. “He was half falling at the time and got a
real clump. “It wasn’t a bad tackle. It was just hard.” Young joins
an extensive casualty list that is easing slightly with the
recovery of Brazilian full-back Rafael from a hamstring injury but
not as quickly as Ferguson would have hoped at this congested phase
of the season. Michael Owen (thigh), Tom Cleverley (ankle) and
Anderson (knee) have all been absent for a number of weeks and show
no immediate sign of a return. “It is not great news about the
other ones,” said Ferguson. “Michael, Tom and Anderson are still on
the sick list. “It is not an easy spell for us but we have to get
through it.” In addition, Rio Ferdinand is set to miss Monday’s
game after picking up a foot injury in training. Despite their
injury concerns, United have won seven of their past eight Premier
League matches since their 6-1 humbling at home to Manchester City
to leave them two points adrift of their cross-town rivals.
Ferguson is determined to maintain that run during a busy festive
programme, adding: “It is time to keep our foot on the pedal.” The
Scot would not be drawn on the subject of Luis Suarez’s ban after
the Liverpool striker was this week suspended for eight games by
the Football Association for using insulting words towards United
defender Patrice Evra – including reference to his colour – at
Anfield in October. “I have nothing to say about that at all,” he