Manchester United have confirmed that key defender Nemanja Vidic will miss the start of the season after suffering a calf injury.
The Serbian international will miss this weekend’s Community Shield against Chelsea as well as the league opener when Birmingham City visit Old Trafford.
The news is a further blow to a back line that is already without Wes Brown, Gary Neville and goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar.
“Neither Wes or Nemanja have long-term injuries,” said manager Sir Alex Ferguson. “I would expect Wes to be fit for the game a week on Sunday.
“As for Vidic he pulled his calf in the warm-up in Munich (against Bayern Munich) and is two weeks away.
“Gary is doing a little bit of training and coming on fine but I do not think he will make Sunday.”