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By ESPN Staff

Ferguson warns Everton against Smith bid

Sir Alex Ferguson has warned Everton they have no chance of prising Alan Smith away from Manchester United next month.

Smith has been working on a personal fitness programme after failing to re-establish himself in United's senior squad since his recovery from the horrific double leg fracture he suffered at Liverpool last February.

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returning to action, Giuseppe Rossi heading back to Old Trafford from a loan spell at Newcastle and Henrik Larsson due to link up with his new team-mates for a 10-week stint with the Red Devils on January 2, there have been suggestions Ferguson might be prepared to let Smith leave.

However, the United boss has dismissed the idea out of hand, revealing Smith is now nearing full fitness again after turning down the opportunity to travel with the first team squad to West Ham last weekend, and Aston Villa tomorrow, to push himself towards first-team duty.

'Yes, that is correct,' said Ferguson when asked if United would reject any offer from Everton for Smith.

'Alan is doing really well at the moment.

'We put him on a speed programme, which had an immediate effect and we have seen a tremendous improvement in him over the last month.

'He is certainly not far away now.

'I wanted to take him down to West Ham but he didn't want to go. He just wanted to stay and train on his own. He deserves great credit for that because it is not easy.

'He doesn't want to travel again tomorrow either, so he will be training again.'

Earlier this season, the 26-year-old rejected the offer of a loan spell at Cardiff, preferring instead to remain at United and work on his fitness there.

At the time, Ferguson stated his belief the move would have been good for Smith. However, now the Scot accepts his £6million forward made the correct decision.

'He did the right thing,' he said.

'He could have gone and played games but not been 100% to play in them, whether it is the Championship or the Premier League.

'Instead we worked out a programme to improve his speed that he has really taken to.'