Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic could return to first-team action for the Champions League group match against CFR Cluj after two months out following knee surgery.

Vidic, who missed much of last season with a cruciate knee ligament injury, suffered from tightness in the same area earlier this season, last featuring in the Champions League win over Galatasaray.

The skipper wasn't expected back until the festive period, but Ferguson says Vidic could return to action during this week's dead rubber in Europe at home to Cluj

Nemanja Vidic
Vidic could be back for United next week.

"It would be nice to play him [Vidic] on Wednesday in the Champions League game against Cluj," Ferguson admitted. I wouldn't be adverse to playing him.

"I gave Rio a rest on Wednesday with tomorrow's game in mind. He'll play tomorrow. Smalling and Jones being back gives me the right problem I need," he added.

The Serbian centre-back's return against Cluj, who need a win at Old Trafford to stand any chance to reaching the last 16, comes as a welcome boost for United ahead of the first Manchester derby of the season against an unbeaten Manchester City side at the Etihad Stadium on 9 December.

In the 31 year old's absence, United have strolled to the top of the Premier League table, after picking up seven wins in their last eight, including Wednesday night's win over West Ham United.

His return would hand United a full complement in defence for the first time this season, with Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones having all recently made returns from injury.

However, Nani continues to suffer from a hamstring injury, and Ferguson concedes the Portuguese winger is unlikely to appear before the New Year.

"Nani is going to be out for a longer spell, possibly another four or five weeks," Ferguson said.

United travel to the Reading side who are fresh from their first Premier League win of the season a fortnight ago against Everton, and recent encouraging performances against Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa.

"I think away games are getting more difficult in the Premier League," Ferguson warned. "Norwich is a good example of that. They made it a difficult day for us and we expect the same at Reading.

"When Brian became manager there it took him a little bit of time to get his ideas across but look at the second half of last season - they came from nowhere to win the league. They're definitely a club that are improving."