Jonny Evans and Darren Fletcher handed Manchester United a vital injury boost after both featured against Tottenham Hotspur Under-21's on Wednesday night.
The pair, alongside new signing Alexander Buttner, featured as the three permitted overage players in the Under-21 Premier League encounter against Spurs, which saw Federico Macheda's double give United victory at Moss Ross.
Evans hasn't featured for United so far this term due to a foot injury, and has make a timely return to action ahead of the trip to Southampton on Sunday, with Chris Smalling, Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jones all out injured.
"It's important for me to get that run-out," Evans told MUTV. "I was only going to play 60 minutes but ended up playing the full game as Warren let me know before the game. I'm glad I've got 90 minutes under my belt.
"I'd never really experienced missing pre-season before. People always say it's important to get a good pre-season under your belt and, if you miss it, it affects your season so I've been trying as hard as I can with the fitness work and a lot of work behind the scenes.
"It was important for me to get this game and instead of only playing 60 minutes, 90 minutes gives me a full game behind me and hopefully I'll be in contention for Sunday.
"I felt pretty good. I've had a few setbacks over the pre-season where it's not gone as planned but, hopefully, everything is now behind me and I can kick on with the season."
United received further positive news in the shape of Fletcher, who made his third appearance for the club since being diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory bowel condition last November.
The Scot's long-term future looked to be doubt after failing to participate in pre-season, with Ferguson uncertain over the recovery time of the 28 year old.
But having featured in a testimonial game against Aberdeen and an Under-21 match against Stoke City, Fletcher's latest run-out gives United a timely boost at the start of the new campaign, with the club optimistic he can recovery sufficiently to play first-team football.