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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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December decision time for Van der Sar

Edwin van der Sar has set his usual December deadline to decide whether to extend his Manchester United career.

For three seasons now, the 38-year-old has waited until the depths of winter to determine his fate, which the answer coming up positive each time. And Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed it will be no different this term, even though the Dutchman has apparently already said he wants to continue.

"It has always been the case with Edwin that he has made the decision around the end of December and it will be this same this season too,'' said Ferguson. "There is going to be a time when he decides it is time but he never does anything at this stage of the season.''

In fact, Ferguson is more concerned Van der Sar is available again this season after he suffered two broken fingers in a pre-season game against Bayern Munich in July.

It was originally thought the former Fulham star would be out for two months, but Ferguson has confirmed he will be sidelined for another three weeks, meaning the first time he will be available is the encounter with Bolton on October 17.

In theory, Van der Sar's continued absence left Ferguson with a selection dilemma for the trip to Stoke.

Poland international Tomasz Kuszczak certainly must have been fancying his chances after keeping a clean sheet against Wolves on Wednesday, just three days after Ben Foster's dismal performance against Manchester City.

However, Ferguson has already decided to keep faith with Foster, who he believes will go to the World Cup as England's first-choice keeper.

"Ben will play tomorrow,'' he said. "I didn't have any doubts. We are not worrying about the odd mistake - young players make them all the time -- and he has not have a great deal of game experience. I do not have a problem with the boy."

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