Sir Alex Ferguson believes that there is light showing at the end of the tunnel for Manchester United's injury crisis, with Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez both close to match fitness again and Rafael da Silva in training.
The Red Devils were suffering from a mammoth nine injuries after Darren Fletcher pulled out of training with an ongoing illness, with a host of midfielders, defenders and strikers leaving the squad looking particularly bare.
It showed a massive turnaround for a United squad that appeared so full of depth at the start of the season, but with Berbatov and Hernandez both on the bench on Sunday, and Hernandez coming on in the 63rd minute for Danny Welbeck, Ferguson believes the side are getting strong at just the right time.
"The injuries are improving a little. It's getting a little better," he told the official Manchester United website.
"It's nice to have these two players [Berbatov and Hernandez] back, Rafa is training now, he might just need a game in the reserves.
"Obviously we'd still like to have Anderson and Cleverley, and a few others, but overall we're satisfied with what we have at this time."
United are currently second in the Premier League table, and are just two points away from title leaders Manchester City. The club have done well to make up for lost points, particularly after being thrashed 6-1 by their cross town rivals.
While they have suffered setbacks, including being knocked out of the Carling Cup by lower league side Crystal Palace and the Champions League group stages by FC Basel, United are still in prime position to remain in the title race - though Ferguson believes they need to be still in the running on January 1st to mount a serious challenge.
"The important thing is to be there on New Year's Day," he said.
"If you're involved right at the top part then you know the second half of the season, we'll relish that."