Manchester United will be boosted by the return from injury of defender Rio Ferdinand for Sundays mouth-watering English Premier League match against Chelsea,manager Alex Ferguson said.
England international Ferdinand has been suffering back spasms since last month but Ferguson said he would be available for the Old Trafford encounter.
We are delighted to have Rio fit again and back in contention, Ferguson told a news conference. Hes been having spasms and has missed the last few games and thats given us an opportunity to get it settled down. He does make the difference as he has the stature and presence in a big game.
The Scot said his third-placed team needed to take advantage of the fact that they would be playing at home against all their main title rivals in the second half of the season.
Our home form is going to be 100 per cent in the run-in we hope, he said. Weve been away from home to all the top sides and now weve got them at home in the second half of the season and that will play a part in deciding whether we have a chance of winning (the title).
Ferguson said Chelseas scorching away form had made them a different prospect to previous seasons,voicing admiration for the way Luiz Felipe Scolaris men won their first eight away games despite faltering unusually at home.
Their away record,without question,has been outstanding. Its a fantastic record. Its a different set of statistics for Chelsea coming into this game. Normally youre saying to yourself unbeaten at home,thats carried them to their success in the last few years, said Ferguson.
Scolari was glad to be welcoming back his own key player for the match,with captain John Terry available after a three-match suspension. Its important for us because it is our captain. He is a man that has an important position on the pitch,he is a leader and plays very well every game, Scolari told a news conference.
Villa move up to third
Meanwhile,Aston Villa climbed to third on Saturday when a terrible error by their former goalkeeper Scott Carson earned a 2-1 home victory over bottom club West Bromwich Albion.
Arsenal kept in touch with the top four as Nicklas Bendtners late goal secured a 1-0 home win over Bolton Wanderers. The Gunners remain fifth,level on 38 points with United. Villa have 41 points from 21 games,four behind leaders Liverpool. In-form Everton have 35 points in sixth place after a 2-0 home victory over faltering Hull City. Newcastle United drew 2-2 with West Ham United while Middlesbrough and Sunderland shared a 1-1 draw.