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Fergie's Vidic gift

Alex Ferguson has confirmed Manchester United skipper Nemanja Vidic is on track to recover from his latest knee operation by Christmas.

The 31-year-old made his comeback from cruciate surgery at the start of the season but within a month was experiencing more discomfort, which condemned Vidic to yet another stint on the sidelines (above).

United have not exactly been watertight in the Serbian's absence, even if they have climbed to the Premier League summit and booked their place in the Champions League knockout stages.

However, clearly, the return of one of the world's best defenders would have a positive impact on United's season.

And Ferguson expects to be welcoming his captain back during the festive programme. "I think it's Christmas time for Vidic," said Ferguson. "If we get him back for Christmas, then I'll be happy. There's been no setback but we cannot take any chances after his cruciate."