Giggs in fitness fight to face Liverpool
Ryan Giggs is fighting to be fit for Sunday’s eagerly awaited Premier League showdown with Liverpool at Old Trafford. United’s 11 times title winner has been out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad since fracturing his arm five weeks ago when the 36 year old hurt himself in an accidental collision against Aston Villa at Villa Park in early February.
He has missed seven matches, including both AC Milan ties and the Carling Cup final but the winger started full training with the Reds first team on Tuesday and the sessions this week will determine whether Fergie will have the bonus of his experience in Sunday’s vital lunchtime clash against United’s bitter rivals.
Giggs is set to have the plate that was inserted into his arm following the incident removed in the summer. Since the setback Giggs has been cycling and swimming at United’s Carrington training HQ and is now just match sharpness away from a comeback.
If all goes well in training this week Fergie and the Reds medical staff are set to assess him before the Liverpool match at Old Trafford to determine whether he can be included but it is looking good for the club’s record appearance maker. His form this term, though only starting in 16 matches, has already earned him a new 12 month contract that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2011.
Giggs’ return would be a major bonus for Fergie who has started the Welshman in the majority of United’s heavyweight games this season. He was in the starting lineup for the matches against Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea and also began both Carling Cup semi-final ties against Manchester City.
In the lead up to Sunday’s clash Steven Gerrard has escaped censure from the Football Association for his apparent forearm smash on Michael Brown during Liverpool’s 4-1 win over Portsmouth on Monday night after referee Stuart Attwell confirmed he dealt with the incident at the time. The official stated his belief that his decision to award Portsmouth a free-kick and issue Gerrard a warning was punishment enough.
Barring injury in Thursday nights Europa League second leg tie against French side Lille, Gerrard will now be available for Rafael Benitez’s side against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, a considerable relief for the Spaniard as he looks to capitalise on Liverpool’s best display for six months.
The news is likely to infuriate Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who recently had to contend with the absence of Rio Ferdinand after the FA retrospectively banned the Old Trafford stalwart for a similar incident with Hull City’s Craig Fagan.
How important is Giggs to United’s season’s run-in?