Fergie rules out major additions

Sir Alex Ferguson has ruled out the possibility of making major

additions to his Manchester United squad during the January

transfer window.

At the depth of his defensive injury crisis, it seemed

inevitable Ferguson would bring in new faces. Sol Campbell was

among those being mentioned, only for Ferguson to instantly reject

the theory that he might be interested in a 36-year-old who played

in just one League Two game since leaving Portsmouth at the end of

last season.

Although United still have injury problems, Nemanja Vidic and

Wes Brown turned out at Hull last weekend and were fit enough to

face Wigan at Old Trafford last night as the Red Devils recorded

only their second clean sheet in six games during a five-goal romp.

With Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand also nearing recovery,

Ferguson sees no need to spend any more of the £80million he

received from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo last summer.

“Inevitably, people look to this month’s transfer window as a

solution to our injury worries but it is not the answer,” Ferguson

told United Review. “If someone could give me the name of a really

good centre-half who would accept a three-month contract then I

would jump at the chance. But where do you find a player like that?

“A decent player would be looking for a three-year contract

and I don’t need that kind of addition.

“It is difficult enough leaving good players out of the team

without adding another to the mix, so I won’t be looking for a

senior player to ease our defensive crisis.

“Hopefully the worst is over anyway and we can get some

stability at the back. Once we do that I am sure we will make up

the ground we have lost.”

With Gary Neville making the bench last night and pencilled

in for an outing in Sunday’s mouthwatering FA Cup tie with Leeds at

Old Trafford, Ferguson has already got more strength at his

disposal. He expects Evans to be available “within 10 days”, with

Ferdinand not too far behind after United’s medical staff finally

got to the bottom of a back complaint that has plagued the

30-year-old for 18 months.

“The main thing for Rio is there is no recurrence of the back

problem,” said Ferguson. “That is what we have been waiting for.

“We wanted him to come through the test of running and

turning. He is doing his programme in the gymnasium, which is good

and at the moment it is looking very healthy.”

The one piece of bad news in Ferguson’s post-Wigan medical

bulletin concerned John O’Shea. When he limped out of the Republic

of Ireland’s agonising World Cup exit in France last month,

Ferguson felt O’Shea had suffered nothing more than a dead

leg. But complications soon became evident. Ferguson now regards

United’s utility man as a long-term absentee, with a period of two

months being mentioned before the Waterford-born star is ready to

return.

“There is no sign of recovery at all for John,” said

Ferguson. “It is his first injury at the club and he is a big loss

because he is such a versatile player.

“We just want to get him back but it could be a couple of

months yet.”

As he celebrated his 68th birthday, Ferguson was able to put

talk of another league title on the backburner. United are not in

action again in the Premier League until they travel to in-form

Birmingham on January 9. But when they resume battle with chief

rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, the Old Trafford godfather knows that

his side’s current position, just two points adrift of Carlo

Ancelotti’s men, provides the ideal springboard for a concerted

challenge.

“We would have liked to be better but given all the injuries,

this is where we hoped to be,” said Ferguson.

“You have to respect the fact Chelsea have also won games but

the second half of the season does not hold any fears for us.

“We have got the squad and with defenders coming back, it

gives us the confidence we can handle everything over the next few

months.”