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The club captain complained of soreness after he made his first start since September against Swansea last week and missed the dramatic Boxing Day win over Newcastle

EXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart

Manchester United will continue to wrap Nemanja Vidic up in cotton wool after the defender complained of pain in his knee following his error-strewn return to the starting line-up against Swansea last week.

The 31-year-old’s year has been plagued by a series of knee injuries, the most recent of which occurred during training back in September that forced him to undergo surgery.

The club captain made his most recent comeback as a substitute during the 3-1 victory over Sunderland a fortnight ago, before he was restored to the starting line-up for the 1-1 draw at the Liberty Stadium, where he looked anything but his usual assured and authoritative self.

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Vidic was absent from Boxing Day’s topsy turvy 4-3 victory over Newcastle that sent his side seven points clear at the Premier League after he complained of soreness in the knee that was operated on over three months ago.

The former Spartak Moscow centre-half has trained this week but the club are intent on nursing him slowly back into the first-team picture in an attempt to ensure there are no reoccurrences of the problems that have restricted Vidic to just 14 appearances in 2012.

Goal.com revealed back in October that concerns over Vidic’s durability and longevity had forced United into considering selling their defensive linchpin amid interest from big-spending Russia club Anzhi Makhachkala,

Though United command a healthy lead over the champions and their neighbours Manchester City, defensively Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have been unusually porous in the absence of Vidic, conceding 28 goals in just 19 matches.

Sir Alex’s men complete their festive campaign with Saturday’s visit of high-flying West Brom, before they make the relatively short trip to Wigan on New Year’s Day.

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