Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney could be in line for an early return to action against Newcastle in the Capital One Cup tomorrow.
The England man suffered a deep gash on his thigh in the Premier League fixture against Fulham on August 25 after a coming together with Hugo Rodallega.
After the incident, it was suggested Rooney could be out for as long as two months but it would now appear the striker is on the verge of a return.
"He is not far away," manager Alex Ferguson told reporters. "He's doing a lot of great training and has been working hard."
Rooney is yet to find the net this season, and with summer signings Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa taking the opportunity to impress in the 26-year-old's absence, the England striker will face a battle to cement his place in the side.
Although should Rooney return to action tomorrow, he will be delighted with the visitors to Old Trafford. Rooney has a fine goal-scoring record against the Magpies, with nine goals, including a stunning volley in the 2004/05 season.
Manchester United also expect to include Darren Fletcher, who made a substitutes appearance against Galatasaray last week after returning from a chronic bowel complaint.
"He will certainly play against Newcastle," said Ferguson. "That is a perfect game for him."