Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans are edging their way towards a return to first team action.
Ferdinand is continuing with his rehabilitation work to cure a niggling back injury, while Evans is making progress with his recovery from a calf strain.
Ferdinand is currently only able to do work in the gym, but Evans began light training on Wednesday and Sir Alex is hopeful of having the Northern Ireland international available for the FA Cup tie against Leeds next Sunday.
“Jonny's done a bit of training but he’s still feeling pain and we’re trying to get him through that,” revealed the boss. “If he continues with his progress I’m hopeful of getting him back quite soon and we’ll maybe have three centre-backs [Evans, Brown and Vidic] available for the Leeds game.”
A return date for Ferdinand is more difficult to pinpoint, but Sir Alex is convinced it won’t be too long before he’s able to call on the 31-year-old.
“I don’t think he’s too far away, but it’s difficult to put a time limit on back injuries,” he admitted. “We gave him an injection just over two weeks ago and we had to let that settle down for a week. He’s since been carrying on with his gym work and we’re hoping the pain will go away.
“He’s not shown his frustration – he’s quite a composed, laid-back lad, but I’m sure he’s feeling it,” added the manager. “Footballers want to play football and he’ll be thinking about all the big games that he’s missing out on. So it’s not easy for him.”