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The 31-year-old Serbia international broke down in the build-up to his side's victory over Liverpool on September 23 but won't be rushed by back Sir Alex Ferguson

EXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart

Nemanja Vidic may not return to action until the New Year as Manchester United take a cautious approach to the defender’s recovery from his latest knee injury.

The United captain is making slow progress in his rehabilitation and still being restricted to weights and muscle work at the club’s Carrington training base.

As revealed by Goal.com last month, Vidic has been given a specially devised programme in which he will build up his core strength before improving his fitness with cardiovascular work and then start running again.

But the Serbian is still at the first stage of his recovery and United are sceptical as to whether he will return before the Christmas target set out by Sir Alex Ferguson earlier this month.

Vidic, 31, will not be rushed into a first-team comeback after damaging the same knee last month that kept him on the sidelines for most of last season. United are reluctant to put a specific return date on his return as they are concerned by his injury history and fear he might break down again.

United’s original prognosis when Vidic broke down in the build-up to the club’s victory over Liverpool on September 23 was that he would return to action at the end of November or beginning of December.

A return during the festive period remains the target but United will not take any gambles.

A cornerstone of United’s success since he joined the club for £7 million in 2006, Vidic missed the majority of his side’s trophyless campaign last season after he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury during the Champions League defeat against Basel 11 months ago.

Vidic returned to the side at the start of the current season but struggled to find his best form, before he damaged the same knee ahead of his side’s 2-1 win over Liverpool and had to undergo surgery for the second time in less than a year.

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