Wayne Rooney to make early return for Manchester United in cup clash with Newcastle

Wayne Rooney has an outside chance of making the squad for Manchester United’s Capital One Cup tie against Newcastle at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old striker has not played since suffering a gash to his thigh against Fulham last month. But he has been training for more than a week and has moved into contention for a place in Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad. If he does not feature then he should play against Tottenham on Saturday.

Midfielder Darren Fletcher will start on Tuesday as he continues his rehabilitation after being diagnosed with a bowel condition last year.

Fletcher, who came on as a substitute against Galatasaray in the Champions League last week, has not started a game for United since last November.

Ferguson said: ‘He will play against Newcastle and that is the perfect game for him to start back. It will be his first 90 minutes for 10 months. It’s a big one for him.

Then we have the game against Tottenham and he could be involved in that. He is handling the condition and, as we saw the other night, he is looking fine.’