Manchester United striker Michael Owen will not be back from injury until the middle of February, according to Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 32-year-old has not featured for Manchester United since he injured his hamstring against Otelul Galati on 2 November, and Ferguson is not expecting an imminent return to fitness.
The Manchester United manager admitted Owen's well-documented injury problems are a source of frustration for the player and the club, but suggested his return midway through next month could be at a crucial moment in the title race.
Ferguson suggests Owen rarely gets any luck in regards to an injury intimating the Manchester United forward often spends months on the sidelines when he succumbs to fitness problems.
"When Michael gets an injury, it is always a bad one," The Manchester United manager told ITV. "Maybe the middle of February he should be back.
"That could be a good time for us. His ability to score goals out of nothing is always valuable."
Ferguson also revealed Ashley Young is facing an extended spell away from the side claiming the Manchester United winger is probably a month away from a return.
"Young may be a month away, four weeks easily. His bleeding never came out quickly in his injury after the Fulham game." The Manchester boss added. "There's nothing we can do until the bleeding is all out and it's been unfortunate for him. I don't think it's a serious injury but we can't pre-judge it until we know all the facts about it."
Manchester United host Bolton at Old Trafford on Saturday, hoping to close the gap on Manchester City who do not play until the Monday, away at Wigan.