Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Nemanja Vidic is back in his squad and is in contention to face Sunderland.
Vidic has been out since September following another bout of knee surgery and returned to training last week, but was not risked against rivals Manchester City.
"Nemanja is back in the squad but Jonny Evans is out obviously after his injury last week," Ferguson confirmed.
"Jonny got the injury midway through the first half and he struggled on to half-time, but I always think with muscle injuries that if you start the second half with it it's a problem.
"Having Vida back in the squad is a big, big one for us: his experience, his ability to head the ball, his offensive qualities are well renowned now and he's our captain. Whether I start him or not, that's another issue. But it's great to have him back.
"We hope we've given him the proper rehabilitation. Coming back from the last injury, we gave him a long rehabilitation and I thought it was a good one. But unfortunately he suffered another injury.
"In fact, in the last year and four months or so, I think he's only played about 10 games. That's not a lot of football for a man who's 30, 31. So it's an issue and we're hoping that he sails through it.
"We'll give him a chance and there will be opportunities for him because he brings that great experience, that warrior-type defending he's renowned for. I don't know whether I'll start him against Sunderland but at least we have him back and given the number of injuries we've had to defenders over the last two or three years, I think it's a bonus for us."
Ferguson also confirmed Shinji Kagawa would begin training with the first team again after a two-month absence.
"Shinji should start training with the first team on Monday, which is good news," added Ferguson.
"He's doing very well now. Nani is still out. Rio's okay, there's no problem with him. We're more or less in good shape."
Anders Lindegaard is also available for selection after the Danish goalkeeper missed the win over City to attend the birth of his first child.
He will hope to replace David de Gea against Sunderland after confirming he was still able to follow United's dramatic victory at the Etihad Stadium.
"I had my phone with me so I was checking up on the score and what was going on all the time," said Lindegaard. "I couldn't leave it completely."
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