"I need to call Bruce and Pallister!" Sir Alex Ferguson joked at his pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of Manchester United's home match against Fulham this weekend.
Nicknamed 'Dolly and Daisy' by Ferguson, Bruce and Pallister provided United's defensive spine for the best part of seven years during the 90s as the Scot brought together his first great Reds side, culminating in the club's first ever league and FA Cup double in the 1993/94 season.
But now Ferguson is without four central defenders and had to field midfielder Michael Carrick in the defeat to Everton on Monday night alongside Nemanja Vidic, playing his first competitive match since December.
Carrick first played there in December 2009, when United's defence was so decimated Ferguson had just one defender - Patrice Evra - to select at Fulham. They were comprehensively beaten 3-0.
Since then defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have been bought for cover as much as their potential yet the duo will both miss United's fixture with the Cottagers along with Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand.
Ferdinand in particular has been a liability for nearly four years as he persistently succumbs to all manner of injuries in his 30s while Evans has resumed training but is not match fit.
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