Key defenders Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling will return from injury to begin Manchester United’s new season, according to Sir Alex Ferguson.
United’s captain has been out of action since rupturing cruciate ligaments during a Champions League clash in December.
While Smalling missed Euro 2012 with a groin injury and will return for the Reds opening match at Everton on August 20 – Jonny Evans is unlikely to be fit as he battles to recover from an ankle operation.
Ferguson said: “Jonny has had an operation.”
“I am not sure he will start the season but he won’t be far away,” he added.
“Chris Smalling has done a bit of training.
“The ruptured groin muscle he had certainly needed a lot of attention.
“He is gradually progressing and I expect him to start the season.”
Smalling could be fit for England’s friendly tie against Italy in Berne on August 15.
And Vidic’s return will be welcomed with resounding response as many declared his absence as ultimately resulting in United’s title loss to rivals Manchester City.
“Vidic will start the season, I am sure of that,” said Ferguson.
“He is still at the level of doing good amounts of training but not in the competitive sense that the others have done so it was pointless bringing him out here.
“He is better being back at Carrington, with all the facilities and the physios to get him to the next level.
“By the time we get back, we hope he is at the competitive element of his comeback.”