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Rooney takes a hit as United edges Wigan

WAYNE Rooney scored the winner but suffered a hamstring injury in a 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic that moved Manchester United up to second in the Premier League on Wednesday.

The England striker netted after just 54 seconds at Old Trafford but hobbled off soon after scoring and will be sidelined for at least three weeks, manager Alex Ferguson said.

"Unfortunately we lost Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez came on and did fantastically for us then he got injured. It was a test of our character for the last half hour because it was an absolutely brilliant performance by Wigan," Ferguson told Sky Sports News.

United, which has 44 points and a game in hand, will go top if it beats Bolton Wanderers on Saturday as leaders Liverpool, which has 46, does not play until it hosts Everton in the Merseyside derby on Monday.

Wigan, coached by former United favorite Steve Bruce, remains in seventh place. Shortly before kickoff it rejected a 10-million pound bid from Tottenham Hotspur for Honduras midfielder Wilson Palacios.

"When the big boys start circling and coming and nicking your players, unfortunately if they pay enough they are always going to get their own way," Bruce said.

Chelsea, which dropped to third place with 42 points, played in the FA Cup and conceded an early goal at League One team Southend in a third-round replay before recovering to win 4-1.

Elsewhere, it was: Hull beat Newcastle 1-0 and Crystal Palace edged Leicester 1-0.

Chelsea's match at Southend was initially called off due to the foggy conditions, but referee Chris Foy reversed his decision an hour before kickoff.

After conceding five goals from set pieces in its last three matches, Chelsea players worked on a new zonal marking system. But a third-tier side needed only 16 minutes to breach it, with Southend captain Adam Barrett leaping unchallenged to head Junior Stanislas' corner past Petr Cech.

As chants of "You're getting sacked in the morning" were directed at Chelsea manager Luis Felipe Scolari by the home fans, Cech threw his body at Alex Revell's header from point-blank range and Franck Moussa shot over from the rebound. But Michael Ballack got the equalizer that the visitors deserved.

Salomon Kalou spared Chelsea an embarrassing loss by scoring the second goal in the 60th to secure a meeting with Ipswich in the next round. The Ivory Coast winger cut inside Johnny Herd before slotting the ball through the legs of Barrett and into the far corner of Mildenhall's goal.


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