Ferdinand, Vidic set to return for Utd
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are fit and available again to resume their central defensive partnership as Manchester United aims to bounce back from Saturday's loss to Everton with a victory over West Ham on Tuesday.
The Ferdinand-Vidic linkup was one of the strengths behind United's three consecutive league titles. But they have rarely played together this season because of injuries.
With Ferdinand back from a four-game suspension and Vidic finally over a leg injury, manager Alex Ferguson was able to name both in his squad on Monday and, after some poor defending against Everton on Saturday, the duo is expected to start against West Ham at Old Trafford.
Although the defeat left United four points behind Chelsea and allowed Arsenal in third to close to within two points of Ferguson's team, the manager is convinced his team will revive its push for another title.
"The league has been wide open this season, it's been funny like that," he said. "Teams have dropped points you don't expect them to drop, but the very nature of the league suggests we still have a good chance.
"We've got a big match on Tuesday night. It's a massive game for this club and hopefully we can get the result we need."
While defensive lapses let United down, the performance of top scorer Wayne Rooney was another big disappointment.
Despite his 25 league and cup goals including 13 in his previous 15 matches, Rooney made little impact against the club where he started his career as United threw away the lead in the first half.
With the League Cup final against Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday looming, Ferguson might be tempted to give Rooney a rest and field Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen against West Ham, but he has named his top striker in the squad.
Nani is suspended, however, and Ryan Giggs is still recovering from a broken right arm.
West Ham comes off a 3-0 victory over Hull, only the first time this season Gianfranco Zola's team has won two games in a row. The result lifted the team to 13th in the standings and four points above the relegation zone.