Manchester United will be without winger Ashley Young for two weeks because of an ankle problem but the Premier League leaders' defensive injuries showed signs of easing on Friday.
Young limped off in Monday's 2-1 defeat by Manchester City, where the second-placed champions narrowed the gap on leaders United to 12 points although they have already conceded the title race is over with seven games to go.
"He got a sore whack on his ankle, maybe two weeks with him," manager Sir Alex Ferguson, whose side have 77 points from 31 games, told a news conference.
There was better news for his defenders with centre back Nemanja Vidic expected to return to training on Friday, while Jonny Evans has trained and Chris Smalling started running, both this week.
Midfielder Paul Scholes should return to first-team training on Monday, Ferguson said.
United travel to 15th-placed Stoke City on Sunday aiming to re-establish a 15-point lead at the top of the table while Manchester City play an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley.
Ferguson's side have stuttered in recent weeks, having been knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid and the FA Cup by Chelsea as well as losing the derby but the Scot denied they were suffering a hangover from their European defeat.
"There was a draining effect [against Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final draw that led to a replay that they lost]... but that is a couple of weeks ago," he said.
"From my point of view it disappears quite quickly these disappointments because you've got so many things to look forward to.
"We are one goal short of 100 goals [in all competitions] this season which mirrors the success of the team overall."
They head to a team who are dicing with danger just three points above the relegation zone, having won only once in their last 13 games.
"They're in a precarious situation because, down the bottom of that league, you don't pick up a lot of points. I think they'll get enough to get out," Ferguson said.
"Stoke have a great support, probably one of the noisiest in the league."
Ferguson welcomed Thursday's decision by the Premier League to introduce goal-line technology for next season.
"Progress is progress, it had to happen, no doubt about that," he said. "Other sports have been doing it for a long time and I think it's time football caught up."comments