Manchester United received a welcome injury boost over the weekend after it was revealed that summer signing Daley Blind would be able to start the final stage of of his rehabilitation from a knee injury.
Blind, a £14million deadline day signing from Ajax, suffered the injury while on international duty with Holland in November. It came as a major blow to Lois van Gaal, as the Old Trafford boss had picked the 24-year-old for every match since signing him.
"Everything looked fine on the scan. Daley can now really begin his rehabilitation"
He was expected to return around the New Year if recovery was on track and now his father, Danny Blind, has revealed the results from the latest scan on the knee, conducted on Tuesday of last week, in an interview with Dutch newspaper Metro Nieuws.
"Daley…on Tuesday had a scan," said Van Gaal's former assistant manager for the Netherlands.
"Everything looked fine on the scan. Daley can now really begin his rehabilitation, but is still on schedule."
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Blind the elder revealed he thought his son would be ready to return to action on January 1 for Manchester United's trip to Stoke City in the Premier League, but he may find it difficult to get straight back into Van Gaal's starting XI.
A recent upturn in form for United has coincided with the return from injury of Michael Carrick; the England midfielder has provided greater balance to the side, while Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera have both been showing their best form of the season so far.
Squad Needs Must
Blind's versatility has always been a major feature of his game, however, and his ability to play at left-back or at centre-back will be a huge help to Van Gaal, who is still being forced to deploy midfielders in defensive roles.
A trip to Southampton on Monday night will provide a stern test for the side that many have claimed to be rehabilitated and ready to reassume their place in the group of leading Premier League clubs after a season of disaster under David Moyes.
Not As Bad As It Looked
With the level of publicity surrounding their early struggles, there is something slightly amusing about the fact that a win at St Mary's will take United to third in the Premier League table and only five points behind defending champions Manchester City.
As their local rivals moved to within only three points of leaders Chelsea at the weekend following Jose Mourinho's side going down 2-1 at Newcastle United, there is even an argument to suggest a decent run will get them right back in the title race - something that seemed very far off not that long ago.