SAF: No special treatment for Gill

Oliver Gill, the son of chief executive David, has been drafted in as emergency cover for Manchester United's encounter with Wolfsburg.

Last Updated: 07/12/09 at 19:50

Ferguson: No preferential treatment for Gill

Ferguson: No preferential treatment for Gill

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With 12 players injured, Ryan Giggs rested and Owen Hargreaves still to make an appearance this term following major knee surgery, Sir Alex Ferguson has been forced to delve into his B-list of players just to make up a squad for the Champions League clash.

Youngsters who have spent two years with a club academy can be added to the original list of 25 players United must supply to UEFA at the start of the competition.

It meant five were on the flight to Germany on Monday morning, with even United's legion of autograph hunters forced to ask their names for confirmation.

Gill was among them, having opted against going to university in favour of trying his luck at professional football.

But, having once had his own son Darren on the playing staff, Ferguson is not likely to give the 19-year-old defender an easy path into the first team.

"It doesn't concern me. If he is good enough, he plays," said Ferguson.

"That is the name of the game at Manchester United. I had my own son in the squad for four or five years and he was treated exactly the same as any other member of the squad. It will be the same for Oliver."

It is a measure of United's injury problems that Gill is one of only two natural defenders in the 19-man party.

The other, Patrice Evra, is apparently being persuaded to play in central defence against his better judgement, even though he will be giving almost a foot in height to Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko.

"[Playing with] one defender, it is worth trying," joked Ferguson. "It would be easy to organise anyway."

Michael Carrick is already earmarked for one central defensive berth while Darren Fletcher will also figure somewhere in the back four.

"Wolfsburg will be delighted we have so many injuries," admitted Ferguson.

"I know we might come second in the group but I am not sure whether it really makes much difference.

"AC Milan and Real Madrid are in one group, Bordeaux, Bayern Munich and Juventus are in another, Barcelona, Rubin Kazan and Inter Milan in a third, so if you get one of those it doesn't matter whether you have finished first or second.

"The one issue is that if you finish second you have to play the first leg of your knock-out round at home, but that is all."

It is rare for Ferguson to adopt such a defeatist attitude, although the Scot's fierce competitive instinct will ensure United give their best.

Beyond question though, Ferguson's mind is wandering to Saturday's encounter with Aston Villa and how many of his injury victims might return.

John O'Shea and Jonny Evans have no chance, having been ruled out until next month with a severe dead leg and a calf injury respectively.

Nemanja Vidic should have shrugged off his flu virus by the weekend and while Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov are expected to have recovered from hamstring and knee injuries, the only other potential comeback to face Villa is Wes Brown, who limped out of Saturday's win at West Ham in the final minute with a hamstring injury.

"We hope we can get Wes fit but it is not going to be an easy one," said the United boss.

"That is my concern at the moment, getting players back from injury.

"I have to look at the bigger picture at this stage. I have to look at Saturday and future league games after that.

"The truth is we have already qualified from this group."

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