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Oct 7, 2009

Van der Sar close to return

Edwin van der Sar is certain he will be ready for Manchester United's Premier League clash with Bolton on October 17, after missing the start of the season through injury.

The veteran Dutchman has been out of action since breaking a couple of fingers in a pre-season encounter with Bayern Munich in July.

However, Sir Alex Ferguson had previously offered encouraging reports of Van der Sar's recovery and the former Holland skipper returned to action in last night's reserve team triumph over Everton.

The 39-year-old is confident he will be available to face Gary Megson's side as United look to get their campaign back on track after Saturday's disappointing 2-2 draw with Sunderland at Old Trafford.

"I will be ready for Bolton,'' he told MUTV. "I feel good and I haven't had any reaction. The match is still 10 days away so I have more training to do, then I will be ready for my first start of the season.''

Van der Sar's return is likely to mean a period in exile for Ben Foster, who despite being billed as a permanent replacement for the Dutchman has struggled for form.

Ferguson put his faith in the former Stoke keeper following his dismal performance in last month's Manchester derby but Foster was again at fault, for Sunderland's second goal on Saturday.

The United boss will not want to drop any more points, especially with trips to Liverpool on October 25 and Chelsea on November 8 looming fast.

And for Van der Sar that offers another chance to test himself at the highest level having cast doubt on the general assumption that he will retire in the summer.

"Of course I could train but there are a lot of lads away on international duty so there are not many players around,'' he said. "I just felt this was the ideal opportunity to get some action in a real game.''

Meanwhile, another even longer-term injury absentee, Owen Hargreaves, is desperate to run out at Old Trafford again. The England midfielder is now inching towards a full recovery from tendinitis operations on both knees.

Hargreaves has been sidelined for more than a year. However, now he is back at Carrington and about to embark on work with the ball. Providing there are no complications, the Calgary-born star could be back in action early next month.

"I can't wait to get back involved in it all,'' he told the club's official website. "I can't wait to play again for United, to be able to pull on the shirt and have an effect on games. "Running out at Old Trafford will be a big thing for me. It will be amazing."

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