United misread Smith fitness
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sir Alex Ferguson admits Man Utd misread Alan Smith's progress on his return to action.
Sir Alex Ferguson admits Manchester United misread the progress of Alan Smith during his return to match action.
Smith was sidelined in February after suffering an horrific leg injury during an FA Cup defeat at Liverpool.
He returned to training in pre-season before coming on as a late substitute in a UEFA Champions League tie against Benfica in September.
The striker has subsequently started two Carling Cup games, but has yet to feature in The Premiership since making his comeback.
Ferguson has now put the England international on a new regime after conceding the club misjudged his level of fitness.
"I think we did misread the situation when he came back for pre-season training and did very well," said Ferguson on Sky Sports News.
"We were surprised by how well he did after such an injury.
"There was no progress after the initial pre-season training and we didn't really realise that until we saw him play against Crewe and Southend."
Smith recently turned down the chance of a loan move to Cardiff City, and Ferguson confirmed the player has been put on an intensive fitness programme.
He added: "His future at the club, hopefully, is good. What we are doing with Alan at the moment is we've got him on a speed programme.
"It's quite intensive and he's working very hard at it. He knows where there's progress to be made.
"Alan knew himself he had work to do, he is doing that at the moment and is progressing very well now."