01/09/2009 13:06, Report by Ben Hibbs
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Deadline day blues?

Sir Alex Ferguson pledged not to dip into the transfer market on deadline day and to me that says a lot about the high hopes he has for Owen Hargreaves' return to full fitness.

The midfielder is due back in Manchester later this month for United's medical staff to assess how close he is to returning to full action.

It's not yet clear how much longer after his 23 September return date we are likely to see him in action, but the fact he is at this stage is promising.

At least for those not privy to the midfielder's medical notes, a lot of doubt still surrounds Hargreaves' ability to return.

A year without any football and major operations on both knees, it's by no means guaranteed. Confirmation will perhaps only definitively be received when he pulls on his boots for the first time and suffers no ill reactions.

I just hope knee God Dr Richard Steadman has done his very best work and we get a key player back.

But the fact that Sir Alex has assessed his squad and deems it unnecessary to add anyone else to his squad is a good sign for Hargreaves.

Being deprived of the England midfielder has been deeply felt at Old Trafford. It's not that United cannot cope without him. Fletcher's emergence as a big player, particularly in the last two seasons, has been a major plus.

Michael Carrick perhaps hasn't shown his finest form so far this term, but we know what he's capable of.

Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes still have a part to play, while there is surely plenty more to come from Anderson and Darron Gibson.

But Hargreaves offers something different. He, too, is a man for the big occasions and his influence and impact would be hugely welcome to boost United's engine room.

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