| 9.5°C Dublin

Rooney set for United return

ALEX FERGUSON has confirmed that Wayne Rooney will return to action for Manchester United at Tottenham on Sunday.

Rooney had missed United's last two games with a throat infection, which also ruled him out of England's friendly defeat by Holland in midweek.

However, Ferguson confirmed the striker had trained all week and would be available at White Hart Lane, saying: "Wayne is fit."

The Scot also confirmed defender Chris Smalling was a doubt after he was taken to hospital on Wednesday evening after a nasty clash of heads with Klaas Jan Huntelaar.

"Chris is our only doubt," said Ferguson. "There was no concussion but he got quite a nasty cut and it is something we need to tread carefully with."

Ferguson also confirmed neither Tom Cleverley nor Antonio Valencia would be fit after recent ankle and hamstring injuries. However, there is good news over Michael Owen, who has started training again after a lengthy absence with a thigh problem.

"Hopefully Michael can have a little bit of luck now because he has not had much of that at all," said Ferguson. "His injuries have always been long-term but hopefully he will be back for the end of the season now, which would help us."

United head to Tottenham bidding to defend a 25-match winning run against the north London outfit.

Their last defeat was in May 2001 and, with a run of easier looking matches to come, Ferguson feels Sunday's game could represent a key moment in the Premier League title battle.

"Playing Tottenham is always a tremendous highlight of the season," he said. "It is a very important game for us because if you look at the rest of the season, in the build-up to the second game against Manchester City (on April 30), it is our hardest away game, there is no doubt about that."