London - England striker Wayne Rooney, who has not played for a month after suffering a severely gashed thigh against Fulham, is likely to return for Manchester United this week.
Rooney's leg was badly cut in an accidental clash with Fulham forward Hugo Rodallega at Old Trafford on August 25 but he could play against Newcastle United in the League Cup on Wednesday or against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday.
"He is not far away," manager Alex Ferguson told reporters. "He's doing a lot of great training and has been working hard."
Darren Fletcher, who was out for almost 10 months with a chronic bowel complaint, made his comeback as a substitute in last week's Champions League game against Galatasaray and will again feature in the League Cup third round tie.
"He will certainly play against Newcastle," said Ferguson. "That is a perfect game for him.
"Then we have the game against Tottenham and he possibly could be involved in that depending on how he does on Wednesday."
Scotland skipper Fletcher must live with his incurable bowel condition but Ferguson said he was managing the situation well.
"He's handling the conditions at the moment and he looks fine as we saw the other night," said the United manager.
"It's a matter of hoping the condition stays dormant. He's handling his diet well and doing all the right things so hopefully he gets that break he needs."