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The winger has not appeared for the Premier League runners-up since the end of August after picking up a knee injury but is in contention to face Stoke City on October 20

EXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart

Ashley Young could be fit to return for Manchester United against Stoke City on October 20 after recovering from a knee cartilage injury, Goal.com understands.

The winger has not played for the Old Trafford outfit since their 3-2 win over Fulham in August but club medical staff are hopeful that he will be in contention to make his return after the upcoming international break.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side face Newcastle on Sunday, looking to close the gap between themselves and league leaders Chelsea, but will be forced into starting Ryan Giggs and Nani out wide, with both Young and Antonio Valencia still a couple of weeks away from full fitness.

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Young picked up the knock in the victory over Martin Jol's side and was subsequently left out of Roy Hodgson's England squad to face Moldova and Ukraine in September, with the FA announcing his absence in a move which angered the Red Devils boss, as United had not yet revealed the details of the 27-year-old's injury.

The former Aston Villa star was again excluded from the Three Lions squad who will take on San Marino and Poland and will remain at Carrington to continue his rehabilitation.

Sir Alex has spoken of the club's cautious approach to easing Young back to full fitness following the knock.

"We're taking our time with that one," the Scot previously said of his winger's injury.

"You can easily play and train with it but we are not going down that road.

"We have a lot of experience of these injuries recurring when they come back too quickly. We don't want that - we want to give him a full recovery."

Young scored six goals in his debut season at United last term after moving to the then-champions from Villa for a fee of around €20 million.

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