Owen Hargreaves has been forced to put his comeback on hold after pulling out of what would have been his first game for 19 months.
The Manchester United midfielder was due to play for the reserves against rivals City on Thursday as he battles back from chronic knee problems.
But the England international will play no part at Altrincham and his withdrawal has cast further doubt over his chances of making a late push for Fabio Capello's World Cup squad.
Hargreaves last featured in September 2008 before going under the knife of Dr Richard Steadman. The world-renowned specialist described Hargreaves' condition as the worst he had seen in his career.
The former Bayern Munich star has been suffering from chronic patellar tendinitis and underwent operations on both knees.
Hargreaves moved to United from Bayern for £18million in 2007.
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