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Smalling itching for Premier League return

24 March 2012 17:04

Chris Smalling is raring to make a full comeback for Manchester United ahead of their final push for the Premier League title.

The 22-year-old suffered a nasty head injury after clashing with Klaas Jan Huntelaar while representing England in a friendly against the Netherlands in February.

However the defender managed to play for the reserves in midweek without any issues and said that having a full squad of players competing for a place will help their cause.

"I feel good," he said. "It was the first time I'd not played with any protection and I came through it well.

"The manager wants everyone out on that field to make sure he has a good squad to choose from.

"That can only be beneficial in the weeks ahead. Having everyone fighting for a place and raring to go will help us."

Sir Alex Ferguson's men are currently a point above Manchester City, who face Stoke on Saturday, with the Red Devils having to wait until Monday to face Fulham.

The trend is set to continue for the next two weekends but Smalling does not think the order of who plays first will affect the final outcome.

"I don't think it makes too much of a difference," he said.

"City will obviously feel the pressure to try and go ahead of us but we've dealt with that before and I don't think it will matter either way."

Last season United only dropped two points at Old Trafford but their home has become less of a fortress this time around, losing to Chelsea and Blackburn while drawing with Newcastle.

And Smalling insisted they must play well in order to secure three points in each of their remaining games at home.

"It's very important to win our last five home games," he said.

"Last season Old Trafford was our fortress and we need to make sure we get the fans right behind us.

"The only way we can do that is by putting on a good performance."

The ex-Fulham man will face his former team on Monday night, with the Cottagers failing to pick up anything from their last eight trips to Old Trafford.

Smalling, who left Craven Cottage two years ago, was part of the United side that turned the west Londoners over 5-0 back in December but believes it will not be so easy this time.

"They're very much an established side, but they have had some ups and downs this season," he said.

"We got a good result when we played them away in December but I am pretty sure they will be hoping that doesn't happen again."

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