Phil Jones to Miss Real Madrid Game with Ankle Injury

Simon EdmondsCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 13:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid is put under pressure by Jonny Evans and Phil Jones of Manchester United  during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 13, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The Guardian is reporting that Manchester United central defensive midfielder Phil Jones will miss tomorrow's Champions League last-16 second leg match with Spanish champions Real Madrid at Old Trafford.

Jones picked up the blow to his ankle in the first leg—where he was one of the stand-out performers for the Red Devils.

The hole left by the 21-year-old midfielder will be a hard one to fill. Jones' solid performance at the Bernabeu was one of the key reasons why the Galacticos were held to just one goal in their home leg.

It's likely that Tom Cleverley or Anderson will come into the first team in his stead. 

Good news for United comes in the form of Rio Ferdinand's apparent recovery from the flu which saw him miss this weekend's 4-0 home victory against Norwich City.

Despite the recent return to form of Serbian centre-back Nemanja Vidic after his spell out with a knee injury, having Ferdinand as a reserve (or even first XI option) is a positive addition to the team against any opposition.

Something that might strike fear into the United faithful, however, is the news that Spanish legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas will travel with his side to Manchester.

Having fallen out of favour with Madrid boss Jose Mourinho over the past few months, it appears as though the chinks in that iconic pure white armour are starting to mend themselves.

Diego Lopez and Antonio Adan have both had spells between the sticks in the Madrid first team during this chaotic period to mixed effect.

Despite a good performance against United in the first leg of the fixture from Lopez, any footballing fan would acknowledge that the absence of Casillas from the tie is a huge bonus for Sir Alex's men.

It appears as if the odds are continually stacking up against the three-time champions of Europe heading into their clash with Real, but if the Manchester Reds have proven anything over the years, it's that they love a challenge. 

Tomorrow's match has the potential to be one of the greatest of the last few seasons. Let's just hope it lives up to that billing. 

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