Manchester United, already reeling from a succession of injury blows have suffered another setback with the news that veteran centre-back Laurent Blanc will miss tomorow’s Champions League clash against Basle.

Sir Alex Ferguson will travel to Switzerland without sevenfirst-team squad players. Captain Roy Keane, along with David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville are among those currently injured and the United boss is struggling to cope with the loss of the French central defender.

Blanc’s absence could see return of Phil Neville after suspension, with the England international the favourite to take over a right full-back, allowing John O’Shea to move infield to partner Wes Brown in an inexperienced centre back partnership.

One piece of good news for Ferguson, is the return of Juan Sebastian Veron to the starting line up. The Argentinian, who has been in fine form in Europe this season, was relegated to the bench for United’s 5-3 win over Newcastle, after travelling to Japan and back for international duty last week.

To cope with the loss of so many senior players, Ferguson is expected to turn to United’s youngsters with Luke Chadwick, Kieran Richardson, Lee Roche, Danny Pugh, Daniel Nardiello and Paul Tierney all included in the squad.