Sir Alex has had to make do with a makeshift defence on occasion this campaign, with the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones all missing large chunks of the season through injury.
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"The game in Braga will give me a chance to utilise my squad. I'll be making some changes," he told reporters.
"If we can get the win it's better, but we want to make sure we qualify first. If we do, it gives me options to utilise Smalling and Jones.
"Then we can make sure that Ferdinand is fresh for all these games. I won't have to worry about playing him Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday.
"That's an important issue. I don't expect Vidic to be back until Christmas so it adds back-up in that respect."