Fletcher sidelined for Wembley semi

LONDON - Brief news ahead of this weekend's FA Cup semi-final matches.

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher has returned to training after a virus that has sidelined him for more than a month but will not feature in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

"He's put the weight back on which is good but I think he's a couple of weeks away," manager Sir Alex Ferguson told a news conference on Friday.

United will also be without striker Wayne Rooney, who is serving the second of a two-match ban for swearing into a television camera while celebrating a hat-trick against West Ham United on April 3.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini faces a selection dilemma up-front as his side will be without influential captain Carlos Tevez who injured a hamstring in the 3-0 loss to Liverpool on Monday.

Italian Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko, who will become the first Bosnian to play at Wembley should he feature, are in line for starting places.

Defender Micah Richards has recovered from a hamstring injury and is available for selection.

Left-back Aleksander Kolarov is confident City will be successful in the final should they overcome United: "Winning (on Saturday) would give us a great opportunity to win the FA Cup - Bolton and Stoke are good teams and we respect them, but I think we are better," he told City's website.

Stoke City will hand Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen a starting place with regular stopper Asmir Begovic dropped to the bench for Sunday's tie with Bolton Wanderers.

Defender Danny Higginbotham misses out with the cruciate ligament injury that has ended his season but will play a key role in the Stoke changing room according to boss Tony Pulis.

"He's got a lot of experience and that will be crucial on an occasion like this. He can certainly still have a major influence upon what happens on the day," Pulis told club website.

Bolton will be without in-form striker Daniel Sturridge who is cup-tied with Croatian forward Ivan Klasnic in line for a starting place.

Left-back Paul Robinson is expected to return having sat out the last two league matches to prevent him from being suspended for the semi-final clash.

Striker Johan Elmander says he will not be satisfied with just one trip to Wembley this season: "Of course it is going to be very nice to play at Wembley but I want to reach the final and that would be even greater so I'll try my best to make that happen."