Manchester United Without Nani and Antonio Valencia for Reading Clash

Adrian AgiusAnalyst IDecember 1, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02:  Antonio Valencia of Manchester United (R) celebrates with Luis Nani as he scores their first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Manchester United and Otelul Galati at Old Trafford on November 2, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

English Premier League leaders Manchester United will have quite the task on their hands when they travel to the Madejski Stadium to face Reading this weekend.

United will have to do so without the services of both their wingers—Antonio Valencia and Nani—both of whom have been ruled out through injury.

According to the Manchester United website, manager Sir Alex Ferguson has ruled both players out of this weekend's clash. Valencia is carrying a hip injury which will see him return ahead of the Manchester City clash. Nani, on the other hand, has been ruled out until after Christmas with a hamstring injury.

When asked about the injuries, Sir Alex revealed the following, via the club's site:

Nani and Valencia are still out, Nani will be out for four or five weeks. It's a hamstring injury and you have to take your time with it. Antonio should be fit for next week. He's got a hip injury, which is painful, but getting better.

The Red Devils sit just one point ahead of crosstown rivals Manchester City. Conversely, Reading sit second from the bottom in a battle to avoid relegation.

Despite this, the last two times United have played away from home (Norwich in the EPL and Galatasaray in the Champions League), they have been defeated at the hands of their opposition. With such fine margins, such a mistake cannot be made again.

Both Nani and Valencia have featured in Ferguson's plans heavily this season. Injures to both players have had them sidelined for a number of games. Between them, they have netted twice and bagged four assists.

The ruling out of both players adds to a mini injury crisis being experienced by Ferguson's men. United still await the return of Nemajna Vidic from injury, Nick Powell had been suffering from a stomach bug, and Ryan Giggs a hamstring industry. Whilst it is expected Powell and Giggs will return this week, the same cannot be said about Vidic.

Manchester City face Everton at home in league, just hours before United travel to face reading. If City win, they will temporarily usurp United's top spot, forcing the Red Devils to take all three points.