Fletcher edges closer to United first team comeback after 10 months on the sidelines
12:02 GMT, 18 September 2012
Comeback: Darren Fletcher smiles during Manchester United training on Tuesday morning. The midfielder is close to a first team return after 10 months on the sidelines.
Darren Fletcher was all smiles in training on Tuesday as he moves closer to a Manchester United first team return following 10 months on the sidelines.
The midfielder, who suffers from Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel condition, played a full 90 minutes for the reserves last week and is poised to make his first senior appearance since November last year.
The Scot laughed and joked with teammates at United's Carrington training ground as United ran through preparations for Wednesday night's opening Champions League fixture with Galatasaray.
Fletcher, 28, was included in the squad for United's European campaign, suggesting that a first team return is imminent.
Fletcher was named in the United squad for Saturday's 4-0 win over Wigan at Old Trafford, but didn't make the bench.
And manager Sir Alex Ferguson hasn't yet set a date for Fletcher's comeback. After Galatasaray, United travel to Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday and then host Newcastle United in the League Cup next Wednesday.
Ferguson has monitored his progress through three reserve outings so far this season and believes Fletcher has returned to his normal weight and strength.
Last week, Ferguson said: 'He's training well every day and played really well the other night for the Under 21s.'
Fletcher last turned out for United's first team in the 2-2 Champions League draw with Benfica on November 22 last year, a game in which he scored the second goal.
Ferguson was further boosted by the return of Patrice Evra to training on Tuesday after the left-back missed Saturday's match because of a minor knock picked up on international duty with France.
Robin Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa, who started the Wigan game on the bench, were in training and United will be at full strength for Galatasaray's visit aside from long-term absentees Wayne Rooney, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.
Where did that land Fletcher during shooting practice as United prepare to face Galatasaray in the Champions League
The chase is on: Fletcher shows signs he's back to full fitness as he chased the ball in a passing drill
Eyes on the prize: Fletcher (right) and Paul Scholes focus on the ball during training
Road to recovery: Fletcher hasn't played for United since a Champions League tie with Benfica last November
Glad to be back: Fletcher is poised to make his first-team comeback, though manager Sir Alex Ferguson has not yet set a date for the return