Macheda close to fitness
Sir Alex Ferguson expects Federico Macheda to be back in a fortnight to ease United's striker crisis. Macheda has been limited to just five appearances this season, the last of which came in the Carling Cup quarter-final triumph over Tottenham in December. Since then, the Italy Under-21 star has been sidelined by a calf strain. Macheda has already been forced to abort one comeback bid but with Michael Owen out for the season and Danny Welbeck spending the remainder of the campaign on loan at Preston, the 18-year-old would offer Ferguson an alternative to his remaining three recognised strikers; Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and untested rookie Mame Biram Diouf. Certainly there will be no fears for Macheda's temperament, given his explosive introduction to English football last season when he scored a sensational injury-time winner against Aston Villa before netting the goal that secured a vital win at Sunderland. And, if all goes to plan, Macheda could return within a fortnight to bolster Ferguson's attacking resources. "Macheda started light training this week," said Ferguson. "He has had a long-term injury which has been disappointing for us because he is such a great talent. "But he should be back in the football side within two weeks." Ferguson is hoping Macheda is following Owen Hargreaves on the comeback trail as, after nearly 18 months on the sidelines, the England midfielder is expected to make his long-awaited return from surgery on both knees in tomorrow night's reserve team encounter with Manchester City at Altrincham.
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