Wayne Rooney and Rafael set to return as Manchester United tackle City
Wayne Rooney and Rafael are ready to boost Manchester United's options ahead of the derby clash with City on Monday.
Last Updated: 04/04/13 4:40pm
The pair missed the FA Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Chelsea, but there are still question marks over the availability of centre-backs Nemanja Vidic and Jonny Evans, who also sat out the Stamford Bridge replay.
A home victory would put United 18 points clear of their bitter rivals, with only seven games remaining in the Premier League, and effectively seal a record 20th league title.
"Wayne and Rafa have started training this morning, which is good news," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
"Hopefully, they will be fine by Monday. Jonny Evans and Nemanja Vidic are not there yet but, hopefully, they will start training maybe Friday or Saturday morning. We have a little bit of time on our hands to get most of the troops ready for the game.
"It's a derby game with a difference from a few years ago. We have to get used to playing Manchester City in big games and that's the case again.
"The important thing is to win Monday's game. It'll be a big game for City. They'll want to come and derail us for a spell. We're at home and our consistency is there for all to see. I expect us to perform really well on Monday."
Although out of the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup, Ferguson's men have lost just three times in their league campaign, and the Scot intimated that the amount of wins were the reason behind them being on the cusp of regaining their Premier League crown.
He added: "We have to congratulate our players on their consistency - to win 25 out of 30 games is a record and should be applauded. It's fantastic. But we've still got to win the title. We have eight games left and that's 24 points to play for.
"The way we've approached things is the correct way and that's to win the next game. Hopefully, it takes us to winning the league.
"It doesn't matter what people say outside of the club, it's about what we think inside the club. We're always looking to do our best. It's been a good season for us."