Sir Alex Ferguson intends to name Owen Hargreaves in his 25-man Champions League squad even though he has no real idea when the midfielder will make his Manchester United comeback.
Hargreaves has been missing for over 15 months now after undergoing major surgery on both knees in an effort to cure a long-standing tendinitis problem.
Ferguson initially felt Hargreaves would be back in action by the end of November and he was nominated for the group stages of Europe's elite club competition in the belief that he could assist United in their quest to reach a third successive final.
But progress has proved to be slow for a player who celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday.
Although Hargreaves is now doing some football training, Ferguson has no idea when the £17million signing from Bayern Munich will be fit enough to come back into the fold.
Nevertheless, Ferguson feels it is worth picking Hargreaves among the players that must be submitted to UEFA by the end of the month and who will be the bedrock of United's quest for glory in Madrid on May 22.
'Yes, Owen will probably be in my Champions League squad,' confirmed Ferguson. 'It will be finalised in the next 10 days and unless something untoward happens I would imagine we will be picking him.'
Back in the fold: Hargreaves (right) joined team-mates in Qatar earlier this month
Having trust in his own body seems to have been an issue for Hargreaves, which is perhaps not surprising given he knows his career is at stake if his comeback bid fails.
Yet there have been some positive signs, even if a full recovery has so far proved elusive.
'Owen is still training with the reserves,' said Ferguson. 'Now it is two days on and one day off and he is preparing to get to the proper levels.
'He has done two or three sessions with us in the last couple of weeks and did very well in Qatar last week.
'But it is a process and hopefully we will get to the point where he feels confident about playing again.'
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