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Ben Foster
Corry Evans
Danny Welbeck

COMEBACK TRAIL

There is some good news for Darren Fletcher fans. The Scotland captain who has been completely out of action since the last 9 months is slowly getting back to 100% fitness. He has even started to train with the first team of his club Manchester United and that’s definitely a big positive for him.

However, the Red Devils boss David Moyes has made it clear that there is no chance of Fletcher returning to action in near future.

Fletcher has actually been struggling with his health since the last couple of years. Towards the end of 2011, he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and since then, he hasn’t been able to make too many appearances for United. The last time that Fletcher had featured in Manchester United shirt was on December 26 last year. That was a game against Newcastle United and the Red Devils had won it by a close margin of 4-3.

Fletcher went through operation at the start of this year because of which he couldn’t play any match for United in the second half of the last season.

Fletcher to miss start of season for United

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher is on the road to recovery after a bowel surgery this summer but still expects to miss the start of the new season under David Moyes.

The 29 year old Scottish international midfielder has been out of action since Boxing Day last year and in January, he underwent a surgery for a long standing problem of ulcerative colitis. And when asked when he would me making his return, the Scotland captain stated that he hopes to be back soon and expects it to be not too late into the start of the season. He added that he thought that he would just miss the beginning of the season.

Fletcher was given an extended break from the game by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson back in December 2011 for a chronic bowel disease and the problem flared up again next year which forced Darren Fletcher to undergo surgery in January. He stated that he has had the condition for five years but it had become hard to control over the last three years.

UNITED CHASING GARAY?

After taking charge as United manager, David Moyes is looking to strengthen the defense of his team straightaway. He is close to signing the centre-back of Benfica Ezequiel Garay.

According to the reports, both the clubs have agreed on a transfer fee of 17 million Pounds and the deal is set to be finalized in a couple of days.

With Rio Ferdinand in his mid thirties and with question marks over the fitness of Nemanja Vidic, Garay might prove to be a vital player for United in their title defense next season.

Garay has been playing for Benfica since the last couple of years. He had joined the Portuguese club in July 2011 after leaving Real Madrid. Benfica had paid a transfer fee of 5.5 million Euros for buying Garay.

In the last season, Garay was in fabulous nick for Benfica. He helped his team cruise into the final of Europa League with some fine performances. Benfica didn’t eventually manage to win the Europa League though. They got defeated by Chelsea in the final.

During his tenure at Benfica so far, Garay has played a total of 51 matches and has scored 3 goals.
Meanwhile, United is also linked with the Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara.

15 POINTS CLEAR

Manchester United managed to extend their lead at the top of the table to 15 points following the 1-0 win over Reading during the weekend.

Due to the fact that there are only a handful of games remaining in the league campaign, there has been suggestions that United may become complacent due to this huge advantage. However, the manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said that the club will not repeat the mistakes of the last season. United managed to throw away an eight point advantage last season, as they lost the title on the final day on goal difference.

There are only nine matches left in the campaign, but Ferguson has said that they will be treating all the remaining nine matches with the most importance. He has reminded his players that they will not be getting any medals if they are complacent. He has also said that the 15 point advantage is not something that has been created overnight, but it reflects the dominance United have had in the league for the past six months. The same sentiments were echoed by the United captain Nemanja Vidic. He has recalled how United lost the title last season, and how it has had a huge effect on them this season.

Wigan Athletic vs Manchester United

Table toppers Manchester United kick off 2013 by welcoming to Old Trafford a Wigan Athletic side sitting just one point clear of the relegation zone.

The hosts go in to the game on the back of Saturday’s impressive 3-0 victory over Aston Villa; a result which saw them leap-frog Paul Lamberts men and climb out of the bottom three.

Roberto Martinez is set to name an unchanged side, as Antolin Alcaraz, Albert Crusat, Antonio Lopez, Ryo Miyaichi and Ben Watson remain side-lined.

Striker Arouna Kone grabbed his sixth goal of the season at the weekend, and the Ivorian is widely available at 11.0 (10/1) to open the scoring.

Wigan are as highly priced as 6.25 (21/4) with Bet Victor to take the points, with United odds on at 1.62 (8/13) with the same firm. The draw is 4.33 (10/3) with Ladbrokes.

The visitors made it eight games unbeaten with their 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion last time out, a result that maintained their seven point advantage at the top of the division.

FLETCHER GETS EXCITED

The Scotland international team captain Darren Fletcher has said that he is extremely looking forward to getting some period of stability for the national team. The Scotland football Association recently sacked the manager Craig Levein after a run of poor results that left the team in danger of failing to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup even at this early stage in the qualification campaign. The likes of Wales and Belgium have been able to get off to a good start in the campaign. Scotland are searching for the sixth manager during the time of Darren Fletcher as a first-team regular.

This is not ideal for the team according to the Manchester United midfielder, who has called for some stability to be introduced into the system. Berti Vogts gave the midfielder his debut for the Scotland national team, but since then, Fletcher has played for numerous managers including Craig Levein. Fletcher has also highlighted that the next manager could do with a bit more luck than the former manager. He has said that the performance and the effort put in by the players during the period of the manager has not always translated into results on the pitch.

FLETCHER COULD FEATURE

The manager of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, has said that Darren Fletcher could feature for United in the match against Wigan Athletic which is going to be played on Saturday. Fletcher hasn’t played any regular season match for United in the last 1 year. His last match for United was against Benfica in November last year.

After that, he came to know that he was suffering from Ulcerative Colitis which is a very dangerous disease. He had to miss the remaining part of the last season due to this disease. He was expected to miss the first half of the current season as well. But, he has shown great determination and has managed to comeback much before the expectations of the people.

NOT CONSIDERING RETIREMENT

Manchester United midfielder and Scotland international Darren Fletcher has said that the prospect of retirement has definitely not crossed his mind. The 27-year-old has been missing from the Manchester National first-team for almost a year now. He has been granted indefinite absence from the first team by manager Sir Alex Ferguson after he was diagnosed with an irritable bowel condition that will certainly not allow him to play and train. It was anticipated that he would be returning to first-team action by the start of the season, but there has been no return of the influential midfielder.

WILL FLETCHER RETIRE

There has been a lot of speculation that Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher could announce his retirement from the game after failing to recover from the serious bowel condition he has been affected with for the last year.

Darren Fletcher was granted indefinite medical leave after being diagnosed with a bowel condition, which would have made it tough for him to leave even a single match. It was initially expected that Fletcher would return to the Manchester United first team by September of next season, but Sir Alex Ferguson refused to put a definite date on his comeback.

As a result of his continued absence from Manchester United, there has been speculation that Darren Fletcher might retire from the game at just 27 years of age. However, he seems to have told amongst his close quarters that he has no intentions of retiring from the game. It is thought that the 28-year-old is looking at the possibility of making it to the Manchester United pre-season, which was initially the planned date of his recovery. Darren Fletcher has been missed by Manchester United a lot this season, particularly in the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City during the weekend.

FLETCHER IS IMPROVING

Darren Fletcher, the midfielder for Manchester United and the captain of the Scottish National team, has been on an indefinite break, in an effort to recuperate from ulcerative colitis, a chronic bowel inflammation. He was expected to be out for the rest of the season, but is doing surprisingly well.