Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Wayne Rooney is back in training and could still play against Newcastle.
Rooney contracted a virus during Manchester United's pre-season tour of Africa and has been laid low for the past couple of weeks.
The striker has now recovered from the illness and Ferguson admits he could still force himself into contention for United's Premier League opener on 17th August.
"Rooney is starting training today (Friday) but as I said earlier in the week, we have a big job to get him ready for next week," Ferguson told Sky Sports News.
"But with seven or eight days' training we may just make it.
"He is much better, the medical reports are good and we think he is clear of the virus.
"Hopefully we will get him ready for the Newcastle game."
Ferguson also issued an upbeat bulletin on the fitness of Michael Carrick and Gary Neville and indicated that both will feature in the Community Shield against Portsmouth on Sunday.
Carrick picked up a bug in Nigeria, while Neville has also missed training this week due to a calf strain.
"Carrick trained yesterday for the first time and hopefully we'll give him some minutes," said Ferguson.
"Nani and Neville will be fit so they will travel also.
"Nani will probably start on Sunday but he is suspended for the game against Newcastle."
Hargreaves and Foster
Owen Hargreaves, meanwhile, is expected to be fit for the Premier League game against Portsmouth at Fratton Park later in the month after having injections in his knee to cure a tendinitis problem.
Ben Foster has also suffered some swelling in his knee which will keep him on the sidelines.
"You can suffer this kind of thing from time to time when you have had a cruciate operation," said Ferguson of the goalkeeper.
"We are trying to manage the swelling but he is not ready to take part in any games. It is unfortunate for the lad because he was looking forward to the new season.
"Hargreaves should be ready for Portsmouth away."