By Paul Clennam
Darren Fletcher could return to the Manchester United first team as early as October, Goal can reveal.
The 29-year-old has not played for the Premier League champions since January and has been limited to seven starts in nearly two years due to suffering from ulcerative colitis.
However, the Scot, who returned light training at the club's Carrington training base earlier in September, has impressed David Moyes and his staff to the point that he is being considered for a shock return to the first-team fold.
Both Fletcher and the club's medical staff are reluctant to set a specific date ahead of his return, with the midfielder wary of rushing back into action after losing a significant amount of weight as a result of the illness.
"We'll give him little bits of football and just pick him up over the coming months and see how he goes," Moyes told reporters on September 13.
"There's weight to come back but the big thing is that he's back in."
Fletcher underwent surgery in January to resolve the chronic bowel problem and was named in Moyes's 25-man Premier League squad after seeking advice from the club's medical staff.