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By ESPN Staff

Scholes on road to return

Paul Scholes could be back in action by the end of January.

The influential Manchester United midfielder has been out since he suffered cartilage damage in his knee prior to the Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev in the Ukraine two months ago.

Although Anderson's excellent form in central midfield has compensated for Scholes' absence, the 33-year-old is still a major figure in Sir Alex Ferguson's plans for the remainder of the campaign.

And, after visiting a specialist last week, Ferguson is now able to plot a more definitive comeback path for the former England international.

'The report from the specialist is very good,' said the United manager.

'Paul will be starting straightforward running next week and they think he will be training with us, football-wise, in six weeks' time.'

Providing Scholes sticks to his schedule, he could be back in action in time to face Tottenham at White Hart Lane on February 2.

More importantly, he will be around when United resume their Champions League quest, with next Friday's draw set to pit them against either Celtic, Fenerbahce, Olympiakos, Schalke or Lyon in the first knock-out round.