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Wednesday 12 December 2012

Nemanja Vidic set to return for Sunderland test

Manchester United captain pencilled in to replace injured Jonny Evans

Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic has not played since September

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said that Nemanja Vidic is set to make his return to the first team for the Barclays Premier League match against Sunderland on Saturday.

The Serb has not featured since having an operation on his right knee in September but was in training recently, and a hamstring injury to Jonny Evans during the 3-2 victory over Manchester City on Sunday could prompt the captain’s return. Ferguson had ruled out a comeback for the City match but suggested the match at Old Trafford would be more suitable.

"To put him in at City for his first game back would be crazy but I think the Sunderland game definitely,” Ferguson said. “Evans had a hamstring problem. He got it in the first half in a challenge from [Mario] Balotelli but he played on while I had Chris Smalling warming up.

"It's OK if you get through the first half but if you try to start again in the second half after cooling down, it can be a problem. So I knew he'd have to come off."

Assou-Ekotto closes in on return

Tottenham Hotspur defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto has resumed first-team training after over three months out with a knee injury.

The Cameroon defender has been limited to three appearances so far this term after a niggling injury flared up in September. He had been expected to be out for four weeks, but the problem was much worse than expected.

Head coach Andre Villas-Boas is expected to confirm whether Assou-Ekotto will be available for Sunday's Barclays Premier League game against Swansea City later this week.

Villas-Boas could also have another long-term injury victim - Scott Parker - available for the clash at White Hart Lane. Parker has not played for the first team this season after suffering an Achilles injury in the summer. The 32-year-old, who won the club's player of the year award last season, has featured for the Under-21s in the last seven days.

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Key Points

  • Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic set to return for Sunderland match
  • Defender has been recovering from operation on right knee
  • Spurs defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto returns to training