Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed his defensive plans for Wednesday's Champions League tie against CFR Cluj at Old Trafford.
The boss hopes to have Nemanja Vidic available to make his comeback, although the skipper is unlikely to be considered for the top-of-the-table showdown with Manchester City.
The Reds will field a much-changed line-up, as in the previous fixture against Galatasaray, with qualification as group winners already assured.
"I’m hopeful maybe Vidic will play," stated the manager. "I think there’s a good chance he will but it depends on how he feels himself.
"It allows me to give Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Vidic [a game] in a strong back-four and Alexander Büttner would be left-back. There’s a good foundation to start in the game in terms of respecting the challenge between Galatasaray and Cluj [for second place]. I think we’re doing the right thing."
Vidic's return would provide a real boost ahead of the midweek encounter against the Romanian outfit.
"I knew Vida was doing really well with the physios," explained Sir Alex. "He was doing his football training with them in terms of turning and striking the ball but he came into training last Monday with the first team and did okay.
"He’s a battler, an absolute competitor. He’s got that dour, uncompromising way of his. He likes defending – that’s what he does."
There has been plenty of debate as to whether Manchester City could benefit in the title race if Roberto Mancini's team fail to qualify for the Europa