Premier League preview: Manchester United v Bolton

Manchester United’s home game against Bolton Wanderers will be Sir Alex Ferguson’s last outing before he begins a five-match touchline ban.

United play host to Lancashire rivals Bolton at Old Trafford on Saturday, but the English Premier League leaders will have to get used to life without their manager.

Ferguson received the lengthy ban – together with a 30,000-pound fine – from the Football Association on Wednesday after publicly criticising the performance of referee Martin Atkinson in United’s 2-1 defeat away to Chelsea on March 1.

Ferguson’s side also lost 3-1 away to arch-rivals Liverpool on March 6, but they have bounced back in their last two matches.

They beat Arsenal 2-0 to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup and also made it into the last eight of the Champions League courtesy of a 2-1 win at home to French side Marseille.

Bolton are also in the last four of the FA Cup following a 3-2 away victory over Birmingham in their quarter-final at St Andrew’s on Saturday.

Owen Coyle’s side beat Aston Villa 3-2 in their most recent league fixture and are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions.

Bolton will be without defenders Zat Knight and Samuel Ricketts, while long-term absentees Sean Davis and Joey O’Brien remain unavailable.

Jlloyd Samuel is pushing for his first appearance of the season after being sidelined with a calf injury.

United are facing an injury crisis at the back, with defenders Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans, John O’Shea and Rafael all in doubt.

Midfielders Anderson and Ji-Sung Park are injured, while veteran Paul Scholes is suspended.

Forward Michael Owen could soon be in line for a recall after overcoming a groin problem, but holding player Owen Hargreaves continues to struggle with a hamstring injury.

 


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