Nemanja Vidic remains a doubt for the weekend encounter at Stoke City with Sir Alex Ferguson conceding the captain could be a "bit short" in terms of fitness.
The Serbian was injured during the 1-0 win at Sunderland and missed the defeats to Chelsea and Manchester City in the FA Cup and Barclays Premier League respectively. Although Jonny Evans is in contention to return at the Britannia Stadium, it looks like being a straight tussle with Rio Ferdinand and Monday's man-of-the-match Phil Jones for the two centre-back slots.
"We are hoping Nemanja can start training today but he's maybe a bit short for Sunday," the boss informed MUTV. "At least Jonny should be back and that's the good news we've got on that front.
"Chris Smalling has started training running-wise and is not far away. Phil was fantastic [in the derby] and that was only his fourth game at centre-back this season. As you know, he's been playing in other positions.
"He can play anywhere on the pitch and is going to be a fantastic player."
Sir Alex is determined that his side recovers from the setbacks against Chelsea and City by getting the title bid back on track in the Potteries.
Jonny Evans - Likely to be available
Rio Ferdinand - Available
Phil Jones - Available
Chris Smalling - Out
Nemanja Vidic - Doubtful