Hernandez ready for surprise Man United return

Manchester: Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez is in line for a surprise return to action when the Premier League leaders visit Stoke City on Saturday, manager Alex Ferguson said.

The Mexican goal-poacher had been facing two weeks out with a bruised shin after what Ferguson branded a "shocking" tackle by Chelsea defender Ashley Cole in last Sunday`s 3-1 win over the London side.

"It`s quite surprising, Hernandez trained yesterday," Ferguson told a news conference on Friday.

"He is very lucky. At the time he had no feeling in the leg, there was a numbness there, we thought there may have been some nerve damage ... but he`s trained very well and he`s available for tomorrow."

Hernandez is likely to resume his potent partnership with Wayne Rooney, who has scored in all five of United`s league games and notched nine goals including two hat-tricks.

United are the only team still with a 100 percent record in the league, topping the table with 15 points. They are two points ahead of neighbours Manchester City and a further three ahead of Chelsea.

Ferguson expected a tough trip to last year`s FA Cup finalists Stoke, who held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw in their opening game of the season.

"The progress Stoke have made over the last few years is phenomenal," Ferguson said. "European football now -- who would have thought that a few years ago?”

"When you see that Chelsea have gone there and drawn and Liverpool have gone there and lost you can see what a difficult job it is."

Bureau Report

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