Rio Ferdinand will return to the Manchester United starting line-up against Hull on Saturday after finally overcoming his injury problems.
The 31-year-old England centre-back has not played since United’s 2-0 defeat at Liverpool on 25 October and fears had grown over his long-term fitness.
Boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Rio has been training very well in the last few weeks. He will play on Saturday.”
Ferdinand has played just eight times for his club this season.
He has missed 19 games for United, and also sat out England’s friendly with Brazil, after suffering what was reported to be a calf injury believed to be related to a long-standing back problem.
Ferdinand underwent intensive treatment from a specialist in London and Ferguson is now happy that his player is ready to play again.
“This is the time to bring him back,” added the Scot. “We have gone through the whole situation with him in terms of enough training and endurance work.
“It is a big boost because the defence has been the weakest part of our game this season. At various times we have lost Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Edwin van der Sar, John O’Shea. It has been a rough time, so to get them back can only be good for us.”
Ferguson confirmed that O’Shea could miss the remainder of the season after suffering a blood clot in his leg, but he said Dimitar Berbatov will be available on Saturday after recovering from a dead leg.
Meanwhile, Ferguson has also revealed he will select Owen Hargreaves in his 25-man Champions League squad even though he has no idea when the midfielder will make his comeback. Hargreaves has been missing for over 15 months after undergoing surgery on both knees in an effort to cure a long-standing tendinitis problem.
“Owen is still training with the reserves,” said Ferguson. “Now it is two days on and one day off and he is preparing to get to the proper levels.
“He has done two or three sessions with us in the last couple of weeks and did very well in Qatar last week.
“But it is a process and hopefully we will get to the point where he feels confident about playing again.”