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Jones boost for United

PHIL JONES could be back in action as early as St Stephen's Day against Wigan after a scan revealed that the damage to his jaw and cheekbone against Fulham on Wednesday was not as bad as first feared.

Alex Ferguson initially feared that the 19-year-old might be out for up to six weeks after he was hit by Clint Dempsey's elbow full-on -- a blow that led to him being substituted.

It has been a bad month for Ferguson, with a serious injury to captain Nemanja Vidic and illness finally forcing midfielder Darren Fletcher to take a break from playing.

As well as Jones' enforced substitution there was an injury to Ashley Young that Ferguson estimated will keep him out for two weeks. On top of that, Fabio da Silva, Anderson, Michael Owen and Tom Cleverley are all injured and out of action for the foreseeable future.

The 5-0 victory over Fulham was United's third consecutive win in the Premier League since their Champions League group stage exit at the hands of Basel and keeps them within two points of leaders Manchester City.

Ryan Giggs, making just his fourth League start of the season at Craven Cottage, said it had been "a good few weeks".

"For myself and Michael Carrick in midfield, the movement in front of us was brilliant." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent