Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic could make a shock return to action on Wednesday in the Champions League group tie against Cluj.
The centre-back has been out since September and was not expected to return until Christmas following knee surgery.
Yet Sir Alex Ferguson today revealed that the Serbian had returned to training and an appearance in midweek is a possibility.
"It would be nice for him to play on Wednesday," said Ferguson.
"We are not afraid of that."
Vidic has been beset with injury problems over the past couple of seasons, missing five months of the last campaign with cruciate ligament damage.
His early return will be greatly welcomed at Old Trafford with Manchester United leaking goals at the back for most of the season. With the derby against Manchester City looming, Ferguson will be hoping Vidic is back to full match fitness by then.
"He has started training, which is good news," said Ferguson.
"He has not been involved in the real competitive part but he has done OK.
"For the last year and a half he has probably only played 10 or 12 games (13) or something like that.
"The best way is for us to leave it to 'Vida' himself. He has the experience to know what is best for him and when the time is right for him to come back into the team.
"He would be short of match practice but I wouldn't be averse to playing him on Wednesday."
Not such good news surrounds wingers Nani and Antonio Valencia. While the latter will miss tomorrow's match against Reading with a hip injury, Ferguson revealed that Nani faces a longer spell on the sidelines.
"Nani is going to be out for a longer spell, possibly another four or five weeks," said Ferguson.