Nemanja Vidic will return to Manchester United's starting line-up as the Red Devils injury crisis starts to ease.
Michael Carrick is still going to be required to deputise alongside Vidic at centre-back for the Old Trafford encounter with Aston Villa.
However, with Vidic recovering from a flu virus, Wayne Rooney (hamstring) and Dimitar Berbatov (knee) getting over minor knocks and Ryan Giggs available after being rested, Sir Alex Ferguson does have more options, even if the game comes too early for Fabio Da Silva and Wes Brown (hamstring), who have started training.
Meanwhile, Ferguson has ruled out a January loan move for goalkeeper Ben Foster.
Although Edwin van der Sar remains sidelined by a knee injury, Foster appears to have slipped down the United pecking order as Tomasz Kuszczak has been in goal for four of the five games the Old Trafford side have played since the Dutchman has been out.
It has led to talk that Foster might be offer the chance to spend the second half of the season away from United in order to preserve his England World Cup dream.
However, the mere suggestion brought a brusque response from Ferguson.
"Nothing is going to happen with Ben," said the United boss. "He is here and this is where he stays."
Ferguson also confirmed he was still waiting for Van der Sar to decide whether he will extend his stellar career by another 12 months.
At 39, the former Holland star knows he cannot continue forever. However, he will be given the chance to remain at Old Trafford if he wishes to stay.
It has become normal for Van der Sar to inform Ferguson of his plans at this stage of the season. However, so far, the call has not come.
"Edwin usually comes to us around this time and tells us what he wants to do," said Ferguson.
"It generally comes in the form of a telephone call from his agent to (chief executive) David Gill, but we have not received it yet.
"At the moment Edwin has an injury but it is not serious and he could be ready for next week."
Aston Villa central defender James Collins returns to the squad after injury for the game.
The former West Ham player has been sidelined for the past month with thigh and groin problems but has now returned to training.
Villa boss Martin O'Neill must decide whether to recall his #5million signing or keep faith with Carlos Cuellar who has impressed in recent weeks alongside Richard Dunne.
O'Neill has no fresh injury worries as Villa look to win at Old Trafford for the first time in 26 years.
O'Neill insists Villa do not have "a mental block" about playing at the `Theatre of Dreams`.
Villa have a worthy record against the other established top four sides and this season have already defeated Liverpool at Anfield and Chelsea at Villa Park.
But O'Neill does not believe his players have to overcome any psychological barriers if they are to get the better of Ferguson's men.
O'Neill told Press Association Sport: "We keep being told we have not won at Old Trafford for 26 years but the whole point is we can't be affected by something that has happened when we have not been involved the majority of the time.
"In fact, in the last couple of years we have played well enough at Old Trafford to have got something out of the game.
"I am thinking particularly of an FA Cup tie a couple of years ago when we conceded a very late goal and last season in the league when we played exceptionally well and still lost right at the death.
"I don't think we have a mental block about going there despite our record at Old Trafford.
"We definitely have the ingredients and players to do well in the game and we will be going into it with plenty of confidence.
"We are playing very well at the moment and it is an opportunity for us to try and push on."
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