Rio Ferdinand will make his long-awaited comeback for Manchester United in a reserve team game against Oldham Athletic tonight.
The game at Stalybridge will take on far more significance than a usual Manchester Senior Cup tie as it will represent Ferdinand’s first game since he was injured in a freak collision with Emile Heskey on the first day of training at the World Cup in South Africa.
United boss Alex Ferguson had stated that the 31-year-old would not be fit to return until the end of September.
However, at his weekly press conference last Friday, Ferguson revealed his defender had made a rapid recovery from the knee ligament problem and said he would be finding a game for him during the international break.
The Oldham match represents a suitable opportunity and if Ferdinand does come through unscathed he is expected to come into contention for a first-team comeback at Everton on September 11, which represents the start of a hectic week that also includes home games against Rangers and Liverpool.
Ferdinand will be joined in the United line-up by Wes Brown, midfielder Anderson, who is also on his way back from long-term injury, and Federico Macheda.