Dimitar Berbatov returns to Manchester United squad for Arsenal clash

Scot also pleased with fitness of Anderson, Valencia and Park, whilst insisting season run-in will not sap players energy, and hopes to maintain form against Arsenal and Chelsea
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Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is set to welcome back striker Dimitar Berbatov to the squad to face Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday.

The Bulgarian has not featured since United’s 1-0 semifinal defeat to Manchester City, missing the club's last two games with a groin strain.

Berbatov’s return provides Ferguson with a surplus of attacking options, with in-form duo Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez also available, while Darren Fletcher could make his comeback from a virus against Schalke next week.

Speaking at Friday’s press conference, Ferguson said: “Berbatov’s trained all week. He had a slight groin strain and missed the last two games but he’s available.

“Darren Fletcher played 45 minutes [against Arsenal reserves on Thursday evening] and he’s come through it fine. I’ll possibly include him in Wednesday’s game [against Schalke], maybe get 45 minutes out of him.

“He’s put the weight back on, he’s working hard in the gymnasium so it’s a great addition this time of year having missed him for a couple of months.”

The 69-year-old also has a number of long-term absentees maintaining their fitness in the first team squad, with Anderson, Antonio Valencia and Park Ji-Sung all available for the end of season run-in.

“There’s a bit of freshness in the club,” Ferguson continued. “Ji-Sung Park’s back fresh and Valencia, Anderson, young Fabio came in so it does give you an extra boost in the sense of intensity considering all the games nowadays. So it’s put us in a good position.

“Two months ago everybody was looking at these two games coming up, Arsenal and Chelsea, as league deciders and we are now. We’re going into the games in good form and hopefully keep that going.”

The Scotsman also allayed concerns that chasing both the Premier League and the Champions League - with his side defending a first leg advantage of 2-0 against Schalke at Old Trafford on Wednesday - would prove too much for his squad.

“From my experience over the years the way we’ve handled challenges has always been good. We’ve got a strong squad," he added.

“I can make a few changes if I want to on Sunday and I can make changes on Wednesday also with the strong squad I’ve got.

“We don’t do a great deal of training now. It’s recovery, get the energy back and keep the form.”

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