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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Fergie encouraged by injured pair's progress

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is happy with the progress being made by veteran pair Gary Neville and Paul Scholes as they continue their rehabilitation from long-term injuries.

Club captain Neville has not played since March due to an ankle problem and midfielder Scholes underwent knee surgery in October.

But Ferguson revealed Neville simply needs match practice while Scholes is on course for a return next month.

'Gary Neville's training with the team,' Ferguson told the club's website.

'What we need to do with Gary is get him a game. The reserves league is closed down of course during the Christmas period, but once that starts up that's one avenue.

'We have to look about, maybe even practice matches and that sort of thing to get some more intensity into his training. Game situations will bring him on a good bit. We're happy with his progress, we're assured he's ok now and it's just a matter of getting him games.'

Though Brazilian summer recruit Anderson has settled in more quickly than anticipated following his move from Porto, Scholes' return would significantly strengthen United's Barclays Premier League defence in the title shake-up.

Ferguson said: 'Paul's doing nice, easy running now. That was the plan. He's out of the pot he was in and the time we set for him was round about February, and I don't think we'll be far off.

'Probably the middle of February to be on the safe side, but he's certainly doing very well.'