Sir Alex Ferguson has ruled Phil Jones out of Saturday’s clash with QPR but claims the Manchester United defender has “an outside chance” of facing Real Madrid next month.
The England international limped out of Monday’s 2-1 win over Reading with an ankle injury, prompting fears that he might not be able to face the Spanish champions after performing so admirably at the Bernabeu during last week's UEFA Champions League second round tie.
Speaking during his weekly press conference at Carrington, the boss was cautiously optimistic about Jones – who celebrates his 21st birthday today – but also declared the rest of his squad fit to face Harry Redknapp’s men at Loftus Road in the Barclays Premier League.
“Phil Jones is the one we are really concerned about in terms of the Real Madrid game,” Sir Alex told reporters. “We're working hard on it and I'd say he has an outside chance – no more than that. He won't be fit for the weekend.
"He tackled awkwardly. He tackled with the outside of his foot. He has dangled his foot in there so that is why he has ended up with the injury he has got. But he has the courage and willingness to tackle. Bryan Robson was exactly the same. Bryan couldn't see danger and neither can Phil. That is a lot to do with the courage they have. You are not going to take that out of them. I wouldn't even attempt that.
"He did an incredible job against Real Madrid. The great thing Phil has got is that he doesn't care who he is playing against. There is no fear about playing against anyone. We will have to wait and see. The Madrid game is two weeks away. A lot can happen in that time.