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Butt concern for United

Published: Tuesday 22 October 2002, 12.44CET
Manchester United FC's Nicky Butt could miss two UEFA Champions League games because of an ankle injury.
Published: Tuesday 22 October 2002, 12.44CET

Butt concern for United

Manchester United FC's Nicky Butt could miss two UEFA Champions League games because of an ankle injury.

England midfield player Nicky Butt was the notable absentee as Manchester United FC flew to Athens for the resumption of their UEFA Champions League campaign against Olympiakos Piraeus FC.

Ankle problem
Leading scorer Ruud van Nistelrooij had already been ruled out of tomorrow's Group F meeting with a hamstring injury and manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted United are yet to fully establish the cause of the ankle problem which kept Butt out of Saturday's Premiership draw at Fulham FC and prevented him from travelling today.

Haifa next
The 27-year-old is also almost certain to miss Saturday's home game with Aston Villa FC and possibly the trip to Cyprus to tackle Maccabi Haifa FC next Tuesday. But there was some good news for United, with Ferguson optimistic about a return for Van Nistelrooij and Rio Ferdinand - who has had knee surgery - against Graham Taylor's side.

Time to assess
"It's possible both Ruud and Rio could be fit for Saturday," said Sir Alex. "At the very worst it will be Southampton [FC] the following week and the same is true for Nicky. They just need a bit of time although we are still assessing what the cause of Nicky's injury is."

Section leaders
United have won all three Champions League matches this season after negotiating the final qualifying round following a third-placed Premiership finish last season. The 1999 winners will qualify for the second group stage by defeating Olympiakos, who are in search of a win themselves in order to fend off the challenge of Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Haifa.

Last updated: 22/10/02 16.58CET

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