Michael Carrick
Michael Carrick [Reuters]

Manchester United have received a major boost after their manager David Moyes confirmed that injured midfielder Michael Carrick could be in contention to face Stoke City on Saturday.

The England international picked up an ankle injury during the return leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final clash against Sunderland. The 32-year-old missed United's fixture against Cardiff as the Premier League champions registered a 2-0 win on Juan Mata's debut.

Despite missing the Cardiff fixture, Carrick has been back in training. His return from injury could be a big relief for the former Everton manager as United make a trip to the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke for the league fixture on Saturday.

"Carrick is improving with his ankle and has got a good chance of being in the squad [on Saturday]. He's improving and has done some training. We'll just check to see if he can twist and turn correctly before we make a decision," Moyes told United's official website.

Meanwhile, Moyes confirmed that Nani could be out on the sidelines for a longer period than expected. The Portuguese international picked up a hamstring injury late last year and the Scot admitted that the winger could be out of action for another month.

"Nani has had a bad hamstring injury. He's getting closer now but I think it will be another month until he will be about ready to play," he stressed.

Meanwhile, Moyes has heaped praise on Rio Ferdinand for helping him settle quickly at Old Trafford. The 50-year-old manager replaced Sir Alex Ferguson after the latter stepped down from his post at the end of last season, guiding United win the Premier League title.

"Rio is back in training and in the squad as well. I'll continue to use Rio at the right times when we think we can play him," Moyes stressed

"He has made a great contribution, especially in the first half of the season. He played a big part in helping me settle and get my feet under the table a little bit. He's got competition for places at centre-half but he is very much valued and looked at as one of the senior players here," United manager concluded.

United are seventh in the league table with 40 points from 23 games, trailing fourth place Liverpool by six points.