Nemanja Vidic is back in full training with United but it's not certain the skipper will be fit to start the Barclays Premier League campaign.
The Serbian is back at Carrington and stepping up his bid to return after knee ligament damage suffered last season. Close season surgery for Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans means the Reds are a little light at the heart of the defence but Sir Alex Ferguson is not too concerned yet.
Phil Jones is another option at centre-back as he is getting back into the groove after taking a holiday following Euro 2012.
"It's not 100 per cent that Jonny Evans and Vida will start the season," he stated at a press conference in Shanghai. "Jonny will start running today. Vida and Phil Jones started full training today, which is very positive.
"If I can keep Rio fit, then Vidic and Jones should give us ample cover."
As for the midfield, the manager is aware that Darren Fletcher's continued absence is an issue but is pleased to be able to call upon evergreen playmaker Paul Scholes.
"Darren Fletcher has a medical situation that he's trying hard to keep under control," added the boss. "We don't expect him back immediately but, hopefully, he does come back at some point.
"Paul Scholes, a year ago, was coaching my Reserves. Now he's back playing and everybody attached to United is delighted. He's such a fantastic player.
"In the long-term, trying to replace Scholes is very difficult. To replace a great player like him would be hard for anyone. We always hope somebody turns up through the ranks of United, from the Academy.