The Villa captain has declared himself good to go for the weekend's clash at Old Trafford.
Vlaar, 30, has missed the past five games with a nagging calf problem and suspension, and has featured just once since returning from a knee operation which left him sidelined for four weeks, when he was sent off after conceding a last-gasp spot-kick in the 2-1 defeat to Stoke.
After his impressive World Cup showing, it’s been somewhat of a nightmare campaign for the Dutch centre-back, having seen injuries limit him to just 14 appearances, but he is now back and rearing to make up for lost time.
“It’s happened to me a few times this season and the feeling I have now is happy as a child to be honest,” he said on his injury comeback. “It was really frustrating to have a setback, and that’s happened a few times, but now I feel good and I hope to be there for the weekend.
“That’s what I’m aiming for now,” he continued. “It’s been really hard but hopefully we’ve found the case of the [injury] problems and it feels a lot better now – more free with my calf.
“The knee injury was unfortunately something which would have happened one way or another but the calf kept coming back. It’s all good now, though.”
Vlaar’s potential return will be much-needed at Old Trafford after Jores Okore picked up a knock while training with Denmark last week, leaving Ciaran Clark as the only other fit centre-back in the squad.
The Netherlands international’s reputation has taken somewhat of a hit in recent months, with his red card against Stoke drawing the ire of fans, and he is now desperate to prove to the claret and blue faithful that he can be a core contributor in their bid to avoid the drop.
“The frustrating thing is that was my last game and since then I’ve wanted to show I’m better than that,” he added. “I made a mistake and it cost us big.
“I’ve tried to get rid of the feeling and I know I can do better. I know that the players, staff and the people around me will help me to do that and have a good game.”
Out of contract at the end of the season, talks over an extension for Vlaar have continued to stall since the summer but, while most expect his departure to be inevitable at this point, an impressive run of form during the final stages of the campaign might just convince the club to make another attempt at working out a new deal.