United monitor Fletcher fitness

Sir Alex Ferguson had promised to give Fletcher every chance to

recover from the virus that kept him out since the beginning of

March. The 27-year-old completed the full 90 minutes on Sunday as

United secured a 4-2 win over Blackpool at Old Trafford – and the

expectation is Fletcher will play some part in Gary Neville’s

testimonial on Tuesday. And it is how he recovers from that which

will determine whether Fletcher has any hope of being involved at

Wembley on Saturday. “Darren has had a difficult time,” admitted

United assistant-boss Mike Phelan. “A Darren Fletcher up and

running and firing on all cylinders gives us a hard job of picking

the team. “It is never easy to come back when you have been out for

so long. Now we will recover him and see where he is at in a couple

of days’ time.” If Fletcher does not make it, he will be suffering

his third lot of Champions League misery. He was an unused

substitute when United beat Chelsea in Moscow three years ago.

Twelve months after that, he would have been a member of Ferguson’s

starting line-up against Barcelona in Rome had he not been

suspended for an innocuous foul on Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas. Now he

could miss out for a third time in four years, although the

straight-talking Dalkeith-born player is happy to leave his fate in

Ferguson’s hands. “I feel ready to play,” he said. “I have had a

couple of reserve games, which I have found even more difficult

because other people are trying to make an impression. “It was

important to get 90 minutes today ahead of the big game next

weekend but now it is not for me to decide. All you can do is your

best. “The lads who got us there have done really well, so the

manager has a lot of decisions to make. “We have a big squad,

everyone is fit and there is competition for places on the bench.”