Manchester United's defensive woes look set to deepen with the news that Rio Ferdinand may not return to action until after the international break.
Sir Alex Ferguson had raised hopes that the 33-year-old would be back for Sunday's trip to Southampton.
But it is understood the earliest he will return now is United's meeting with Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford on September 15.
Ferdinand has missed the first two games of the season with a groin injury but United's defensive problems run much deeper with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones also all out of action and Jonny Evans only just returning to the bench for Saturday's 3-2 win over Fulham.
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