Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to welcome winger Ashley Young back to the first team fold at Old Trafford this weekend.

Stoke City are the visitors in the Premier League, with former Red Devils forward Michael Owen rated ‘50/50’ to feature for the Potters by manager Tony Pulis.

Ferguson is fully focused on the fitness of his own players however, and is confident Young can take advantage whenever an opportunity is given in the first team.

“The opportunities are there for him. Ashley has the opportunity to win things here. I don't think that's lost on him," Ferguson said in his pre-match press conference.

"I'm sure during the time he's been out he's been thinking about that. That's what players do when they've been out, they start thinking about what should have been and what can be for them. That will hopefully surface as the season goes on."

Young last featured for Manchester United in the 3-2 victory over Fulham back in November, with a knee injury keeping the England international out of action since then.

And, despite a change of formation in recent weeks, Ferguson is in no doubt that Young has plenty of attributes to bring to the table whichever way he decides to line up his side.

"It's always the same when a player gets injured. He's not there so they can be out of people's minds, but he has shown his qualities," Ferguson concluded.

"Very few players can cross the ball as well as he can and his goalscoring ratio is very good for us. He got eight goals for us last season. You can't underestimate that, or forget it."

United will be looking for a repeat of last season’s comfortable victory, when penalties from Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov led to a comfortable 2-0 victory.


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