Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed reports that Chris Smalling is suffering from glandular fever and expects the Manchester United defender to return to action next week.
Smalling missed United's Boxing Day victory over Wigan Athletic due to illness and reports on Friday claimed the England international is suffering from glandular fever.
Such an illness could have seen the 22-year-old sidelined for three months to compound the Red Devils' current injury problems.
However, Ferguson has confirmed Smalling has been laid low by tonsillitis and will miss the New Year's Eve game at home to Blackburn Rovers.
The former Fulham player, though, could return for either next Wednesday's trip to Newcastle United or the Sunday 8th January FA Cup third-round tie against local rivals Manchester City.
Wide of the mark
"I have seen the reports," Ferguson said. "They are well wide of the mark. He has tonsillitis.
"He had glandular fever as a kid but that's not the case here. He should be ready for the Newcastle game, at least definitely the Manchester City game in the FA Cup. He'll be ready for those games."
Ferguson also revealed that he could have Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jones available for Saturday's clash against Blackburn at Old Trafford, although Jonny Evans has joined the list of casualties.
The United boss added: "We don't have much change. Obviously injuries to the defenders are quite a concern now, with Jonny Evans taken off at half-time [on Monday].
"We're hoping Phil Jones will be fit, there's possibly an outside chance that Rio Ferdinand will get on the bench. Other than that, we're the same.
"Hopefully we can keep the momentum going. The form is good and the players are enjoying themselves too."