London: Manchester United could face a striker shortage for their make-or-break Champions League trip to Basel after Dimitar Berbatov was ruled out with an existing ankle problem on Tuesday.
After Javier Hernandez suffered an ankle injury at Aston Villa on Saturday that is set to rule him out for a month, manager Sir Alex Ferguson hoped Berbatov would have recovered from his own ankle problem to make the flight to Switzerland.
However the Bulgarian was absent from training again on Tuesday, leaving United with just Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, who has made just one substitute appearance since suffering a muscular problem on England duty last month.
After requiring a last-gasp Ashley Young goal to salvage a point at Old Trafford, United have already encountered difficulties overcoming Basel this term.
And they require at least a point at St Jakob Park on Wednesday evening to claim a place in the last 16.
However, though he may be experiencing this competition for the first time, Young has been with the Red Devils long enough to know there is no chance of United sitting back to secure the point they so desperately require.
"It would be dangerous to think we only need a draw," said the former Aston Villa man.
"No-one at this club has that mentality."
"We still have it in our hands to go there and qualify, which was the main target and we will be trying to win."
Ferguson's plans have not been helped by the continued absences of Brazilian twins Rafael and Fabio, in addition to long-term absentees Tom Cleverley and Michael Owen.
Midfielder Michael Carrick is also missing through suspension.