Manchester United manager David Moyes says Marouane Fellaini could return from wrist surgery ahead of schedule next month after bringing forward plans to resolve his long-standing injury.
With Michael Carrick in contention for a comeback at Hull City on St Stephen's Day, Fellaini -- who has been sidelined since suffering a back injury in the 1-0 defeat against Everton on December 4 -- had a wrist operation on Saturday after telling Moyes that he would not be able to overcome the back problem to play any part during the festive period.
The loss of Fellaini, who has failed to impress since his arrival from Everton in a £27.5m deal in August, has been countered by fellow midfielder Carrick's imminent return from a six-week lay-off due to an Achilles problem, and positive injury updates on Danny Welbeck and Nemanja Vidic.
Moyes is also hopeful that Robin van Persie will be back in time for the FA Cup third-round tie against Swansea City on January 5.
Moyes has played down concerns over the fitness of Welbeck, who limped off with a knee problem during the second half of Saturday's win over West Ham, insisting that the England forward is fit to face Hull at the KC Stadium.
"It was only a kick on his knee," said Moyes. "He had a problem with his knee a few weeks ago, but it seems to be just a kick, so he's trained and we hope he's okay.
"Vidic is fine. He had a calf injury and when he came back he had a bit of illness, a bad throat the other week, so we just have to look after him. But he's fine."
Victory at the KC Stadium would represent a fifth straight triumph for the first time under Moyes. (© Daily Telegraph, London)