Manchester: Ben Foster and Wes Brown are likely to be fit for champions Manchester United`s opening Premier League game at home to Birmingham City after a close-season full of injuries and high-profile departures.
With first-choice goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar ruled out for several weeks with a broken finger, deputy Foster missed England`s midweek friendly against Netherlands due to a knock.
However, Foster is set to return Sunday, as is defender Brown following his thigh injury.
With Nemanja Vidic poised for another week out, Nani a doubt with a shoulder problem, Gary Neville struggling with a groin injury and Owen Hargreaves still some way off a return, the availability of Foster and Brown would be a significant boost for manager Alex Ferguson.
United are notoriously slow starters and have failed to win on the opening day in three of the past five seasons.
Ferguson knows that following a close-season in which Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid for a world record fee of 80 million pounds ($131.5 million) and Carlos Tevez left for Manchester City, United will be firmly in the spotlight.
The Scot has limited his spending, with winger Antonio Valencia arriving from Wigan Athletic, striker Michael Owen joining on a free transfer from Newcastle United and midfielder Gabriel Obertan signing from Girondins Bordeaux.