United star Rio awaits his fate.
The Football Association hearing at Bolton's Reebok Stadium entered its second day today with Ferdinand's defensive team, led by Ronald Thwaites, set to put their case forward to why he failed to turn up for the test in September.
Among the witnesses expected to give verbal evidence were United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester City midfielder Eyal Berkovic, who was with Ferdinand in central Manchester when his former West Ham team-mate was notified of his failure to take the pre-arranged test.
Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp and England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, who stands to lose one of his key men for Euro 2004 should any suspension extend beyond the anticipated three months, have given written submissions.
Meanwhile, under-fire Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier takes his under-performing side to basement boys Wolves tomorrow.
A win is a must for the Frenchman if he is to get the Anfield club back on track for a Champions League place and save his job.
But Houllier will have to do without a number of key players.
Salif Diao is the latest to pull out with ankle ligament damage and he joins Michael Owen, Harry Kewell and Milan Baros on the sidelines.
Wolves need a win if they are to mount a climb away from the foot of the table, but boss Dave Jones is without frontman Nathan Blake.
Steffen Iversen has shaken off a calf injury and should feature.
Bolton manager Sam Allardyce is set to make at least four changes for the visit of leaders Arsenal.
Per Frandsen, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Kevin Nolan and Youri Djorkaeff should all return to the starting line-up after only the latter played any part in Tuesday's Carling Cup victory over Southampton after coming on as a substitute.
Arsene Wenger will be forced into a reshuffle with Ashley Cole suspended, which could see Cygan moved to left-back, Lauren resume on the other side after a four match ban and Kolo Toure return to central defence.
Surprise package Fulham face the tough task of hosting a Chelsea side that will be looking to bounce back from their midweek Carling Cup defeat at Aston Villa.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink misses out through suspension while Eidur Gudjohnsen is injured.
Newcastle travel to Charlton looking to overtake Fulham in that coveted fourth spot, while Blackburn host Aston Villa and Leicester go to Everton.
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|Publication:||Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)|
|Date:||Dec 19, 2003|
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