Smalling and Jones set to hand Manchester United defensive boost

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is set to have his defensive concerns eased somewhat by the imminent return of English defensive pair Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

The Red Devils have had concerns at the back this season, only keeping three clean sheets in all competitions so far and having to deal with injury problems that has left the likes of midfielder Michael Carrick playing in central defence.

However, according to the Daily Mail, having been missing since the end of last season with a foot injury, Smalling looks set to return to the United squad for their crunch Premier League clash with rivals Arsenal at Old Trafford on Saturday, while defensive partner Jones could be fit to play some part in the return Champions League encounter with Braga after an extensive period on the sidelines with back and knee problems.

We will try to push Chris on quickly,” said Ferguson. “I don’t think he will make Wednesday’s game [the League Cup fourth round tie with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge] but I am sure he will be ready for the following week.

Phil will be starting football training next Monday. He still has some running to do. The good news is they are not far away.

Ferguson’s men travel to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night for a re-match of their dramatic Premier League encounter at the same venue, which controversially ended in a 3-2 victory for the visitors after red cards to both Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres for Chelsea.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Man Utd v Arsenal

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