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Football: Jones faces fitness race to make Real return

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Alex Ferguson revealed on Thursday that Manchester United defender Phil Jones has only a slim chance of being fit for his side's decisive Champions League showdown with Real Madrid.

Jones suffered an ankle injury during Monday's FA Cup win over Reading and Ferguson admitted the England international will miss Saturday's trip to QPR and faces a battle to recover in time for the last 16 second leg clash against Jose Mourinho's Madrid on March 5.

The 21-year-old is having intense treatment in the hope of being available for the Old Trafford encounter, which United will go into as slight favourites after a 1-1 draw in Spain last week.

"We are working very hard. He has an outside chance for Real Madrid, no more than that," Ferguson said.

Ferguson knows Jones' absence from the Real game would cause him a headache given how well the former Blackburn star performed in the first leg when he was handed the difficult role of subduing Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

"He is a young man who went into a tackle too brave and was a bit off-balanced," Ferguson added. "He certainly won't be fit for the weekend."

smg/ak

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130221/football-jones-faces-fitness-race-make-real-return