FOOTBALL NEWS

28/08/2009 08:41, Report by Ben Hibbs

Hargreaves close to return

United have been boosted by news that Owen Hargreaves will return to the club on 23 September as he hopefully nears the end of a year-long injury hell.

The midfielder hasn't played for a year, during which time he's had operations on both knees to solve his tendonitis problems, so that return date is not his playing comeback.

He's been doing rehabilitation work in America this summer and United first must assess at what stage he is at in terms of his recovery. Nevertheless, Sir Alex says his impending return is "a great addition to us".

"We're in dialogue all the time with Owen and the physio who's conducting his rehabilitation in America," the boss said on Friday. "He'll come with Owen for a week for the change-over so we can jointly understand the treatment and rehabilitation he's been doing. That's straightforward.

"The difficulty is getting him back into football work. I say difficult because we've not seen him all this time. We're relying on information we get from the States. We're certain that his fitness work will be good, we just have to guage the right time to bring him into football training. You don't have a player out for a year and then just throw him straight into the fire.

"The important thing is to get him back playing to his level, which is a very good level, because he'll be a great addition to us."

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