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Hargreaves trains, Carrick close to return, United draw Wolves in Carling Cup

It doesn’t have any bearing on tomorrow’s match at Bolton, but there’s very encouraging injury news on multiple fronts.

We’ve seen what amounts to a glimpse of Owen Hargreaves over the last couple of years, and there have been serious concerns that he wouldn’t be able to overcome his persistent knee troubles. But the club has stuck with him, and the England midfielder could soon repay that faith, as he made an impressive return to training this week.

Sir Alex is encouraged by what he’s seen thus far, and we should be too. He told MUTV, “He looked very good. I was surprised how good. … After being out so long, we’ll obviously have to monitor him and see how he’s going to progress in the next few weeks. But it’s good to see him back.”

“If he continues this way, he’s going to give me another selection problem, no doubt about that.”

We’ve had some false starts with Hargreaves, so any excitement must be with caution, but hopefully the worst is fully behind him. He’ll no doubt be eased back into match actiom, and it remains to be seen what kind of impact he can have. But if he can contribute in even a part-time role, it’ll be significant given the mountain he’s had to climb.

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With Anderson having returned and Hargreaves seemingly set to soon, the midfield will look a mite more formidable than it has in some time.

Fergie will also soon have the services of short-term absentee Michael Carrick, who’s also training again after going down with an Achilles injury a few weeks ago.

The manager said on Carrick, “Michael started training last week. He had that injection on his Achilles to settle it down. It was nothing serious, just one of those niggling little problems you can get with your Achilles, particularly at the start of the season when grounds are firm. But he’s fine.”

It does shape up to be a selection headache for Sir Alex, but it’s far better to have a headache based on a surplus and not a shortage.

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The draw for the fourth round of the Carling Cup was made this morning, and United have been handed a very favorable tie, as we’ll face Wolves at home.

The tie of the round looks to be Newcastle v. Arsenal at St. James’ Park. With Chelsea, Liverpool, City, and Tottenham all out already, it’s hard not to look ahead, as, past Arsenal, the toughest opponents left are Aston Villa (at home to Bunley) and Birmingham City (at home to Brentford).

The ties will be played the week of October 25.

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Speaking of favorable, it’s hard not to do a little dance at how things transpired today.

Chelsea went down 1-0 at City, suffering their first defeat of the season, and Liverpool drew 2-2 at home to Sunderland. The shock of the day, and of the season, was Arsenal losing 3-2 at home to West Brom. Can’t say I saw that one coming, but it shows that no one can look at three points as an automatic even at home, and that West Brom could well have what it takes to survive this season.

Of course, those results will mean little if United falter at the Reebok tomorrow. And given today’s results and United’s previous away results this season, Bolton certainly can’t taken lightly.