Roberto Martinez believes the return to fitness of Tom Cleverley could be the catalyst for Manchester United to win the Premier League title this season.

A Manchester United side decimated by injuries humbled Wigan at Old Trafford on Boxing Day and yet Martinez believes the imminent return of the injured Cleverley could make Sir Alex Ferguson's side even more potent.

Cleverley was the initial spark behind Manchester United's scintillating start to the season but his absence from the side coincided with the Red Devils' slump.

Manchester United have since managed to negotiate a lengthy injury list to remain hot on the heels of Manchester City, and the aforementioned Wigan manager now feels Cleverley can help take Ferguson's side back to the summit of English football.

Cleverley spent last season on loan at the DW Stadium and has since established himself as one of Manchester United's brightest young stars. He has not featured since the victory at Goodison Park earlier in the season, but is tipped to make his Old Trafford return early in the New Year.

"Tom Cleverley is a player you need to work with to understand the full package." Martinez said of the Manchester United midfielder. "The mentality he's got is quite unique. He's a winner and we all see what he can do.

"Tom will be refreshed - and that could be the key for Manchester United. He's going to be fully fit and it's going to be like having a new signing.

"He can make a big impact on the title race."

Manchester United's central midfield on Boxing Day consisted of the relatively peripheral Darron Gibson and the evergreen Ryan Giggs, while Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia started in a makeshift back-line.