Fergie eyes Smith role

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Sir Alex Ferguson intends to use fit-again Alan Smith as a striker this season, rather than revert the competitive player back into a midfield role.

The former Leeds ace is still short of full fitness after suffering serious injury at Liverpool last season, but played 120 minutes in midweek as United's Carling Cup tie with Crewe went almost the full distance.

Ferguson was pleased with Smith's workout, and has earmarked the England cap to add competition for places in United's attack.

"We tried Alan in central midfield last season because we were looking for someone with a certain type of aggression to replace Roy Keane," said Ferguson.

"But now Scholes is back and we also have Michael Carrick, Alan would have been behind players in the queue, so we felt it was better to use him in a position he is more acquainted with.

"There are no lingering doubts about him in terms of injury now. He just needs to work on his sharpness and timing. I am sure he will be okay."