VAN DER GOUW OP LEAVES UNITED SHORT
By Patrick Goss
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Van der Gouw has been aware that he needed the cartilage operation for some time, but the timing of the procedure should allow a return for the later stages of the Champions League campaign.
The Dutch custodian remained confident that the situation would resolve itself, admitting that a new deal has yet to be agreed - but that the operation should be straightforward.
"I haven't had talks on a new contract yet, but I'm still very hopeful something can be sorted out," said van der Gouw.
"The operation was necessary at this time and I expect to be back playing within a month."
In the meantime van der Gouw will be replaced as Fabien Barthez's understudy by youngster Paul Rachubka.
The American keeper's inexperience at the top level will leave The Red Devils with a major worry should Barthez succumb to the recurring back injury that has seen the French international sidelined twice already this season.
In the meantime, with key games coming up in Europe - including the Champions League clash against Panathinaikos on Wednesday - Sir Alex Ferguson will be hoping that nothing untoward occurs to his number one.