Michael Owen could return for Manchester United this weekend

Michael Owen could return to the Manchester United squad for tomorrow's trip to Wigan.

The former England striker last featured in the FA Cup win at Southampton last month.

Since then though, he suffered a groin injury in training that it was feared could rule the 30-year-old out for an extended period, possibly the remainder of the season.

However, the damage was not as severe as had been depicted and Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed Owen is in contention for tomorrow's encounter at the DW Stadium.

"Michael is back training and could be available tomorrow," said Ferguson.

Owen was one of seven senior players to miss Wednesday's Champions League draw with Marseille at the Stade Velodrome, when Ferguson admitted: "Nothing happened."

Of the rest, only veteran winger Ryan Giggs is in contention to play, either at Wigan or Tuesday's crucial clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

"The situation has not changed very much," admitted the Scot.

"We are trying to get Ryan fit."

It means Rio Ferdinand, who has not played since suffering a calf injury in the warm-up ahead of United's shock defeat at Wolves earlier this month, will sit out the Chelsea encounter.

"Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans will be available for next week, and that means the Liverpool game."

Ferguson might not be too concerned given Chris Smalling's recent outstanding performances, culminating in Wednesday night's effort when, for the sixth time in seven Champions League games this season, United kept a clean sheet.

Antonio Valencia, Park Ji-sung and Anderson will all be out for longer, presumably not until a potential FA Cup sixth round tie with Arsenal on March 12 at the earliest.

"It is difficult to assess Antonio Valencia because he is doing very well, he is in contact training now," said Ferguson.

"He has been taking part in all the sessions, so it is just that decision to play him in terms of his own confidence after such a long time out. It could be two weeks. We are hopeful.

"Park Ji-sung will be another two weeks and Anderson three, depending on how his progress goes because he is over in Portugal at the moment."