Date: 7th August 2006 at 11:30am
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When the chips are down, they really are down.

Manchester United have been dealt a massive blow with the news that this summers big signing Michael Carrick will miss up to a month of the new season after the England midfielder damaged ankle ligaments in the 1-0 friendly win against Ajax this weekend.

Ajax skipper Kenneth Perez can be thanked for this latest blow following a needless foul on Carrick. This injury leaves question marks over our start as Sir Alex Ferguson is also waiting on news of injuries to Gary Neville, Gabriel Heinz, Rio Ferdinand and John O’Shea.

Sir Alex said: ‘Our preparations have been disrupted but we have a strong squad and we have to get on with it. Michael has ligament damage and it looks like he could be out for three weeks. It is a real blow for the young lad. He wanted to do really well for us and this has knocked him back a bit. Injuries are part of the game, though, and we have plenty of good players in the squad who can take his place.’

On the positive side, United are confident that Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes won’t face three match bans for their red cards picked up in a pre-season friendly against FC Porto. Scholes & Rooney – The Reds!