Football - Giggs determined to be ready for duty

Ryan Giggs has admitted preparing for matches as a fringe member of Manchester United's squad has its own problems.

Gone are the days when Giggs was an automatic presence in Sir Alex Ferguson's starting line-up.

Indeed, so infrequently was the 39-year-old selected at the start of the season, there were claims he might call time on his stellar career this summer. Ferguson met such observations with a typically withering response.

Indeed, over Christmas, Giggs has been a key man for United, impressing in his substitute role at Swansea, then against Newcastle and Wigan as the Red Devils maintained their seven-point advantage in the Premier League title race.

Yet the mere fact Giggs completed the full 90 minutes at the DW Stadium on New Year's Day almost certainly means he will not be involved in Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie at West Ham.

And then United only have two games in a fortnight, meaning Giggs' appearances may be restricted once more.

"It can be difficult," Giggs said. "It's just a case of looking after your fitness and making sure you're sharp and not peaking in the middle of the week when you need to be ready for a Saturday game.

"It is tough when you get yourself ready for a Wednesday game, don't play and then you have to get yourself ready for a Saturday game.

"But a lot of players are in that position. We have a big squad and you're not going to play every game.

"Together with Paul Scholes, I probably play fewer matches than a lot of the players but we know we have to be ready when we're called upon."