Manchester United have received a welcome boost as Michael Carrick is nearing a return following his lengthy injury layoff.
The 33-year-old midfielder has been out of action since the summer after undergoing ankle surgery ahead of the new campaign.
His absence in the first team has been notable as the Red Devils have struggled as a defensive unit, and new boss Louis Van Gaal will be counting the days until his return.
According to the Mirror, the former Dutch national coach may not have much longer to wait as Carrick steps up training ahead of a possible 20 October return at West Bromwich Albion.
“Carrick has yet to feature for new United boss Van Gaal this season having undergone ankle surgery in mid-July. But the midfielder is understood to be doing ball work now and could figure as a substitute at West Brom on October 20," the report claims.
The England international has been a commanding figure for the Red Devils in the middle of the park for a number of years and offers his side balance and composure.
This season, Van Gaal has so far struggled to find the right combinations in the midfield following an Old Trafford injury crisis and the versatile Danny Blind has often played in the holding role.
The Dutch international can play in a number of positions and protects the defence well, but Carrick’s ability to retain and use the ball purposely has been lacking.
During the previous eight seasons, the former West Ham United youngster has represented United 359 times in all competitions, winning the Premier League title five times.
His current deal at the club runs out next summer, and the number of appearances between now and the end of the season could decide whether both the player and the club take up the option of a further year.