Paul Pogba has had his ankle cast removed as he steps up his attempt to return from injury for Manchester United.
The France international has only started one Premier League match since August in a campaign heavily interrupted by his fitness woes.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was unable to put a timescale on Pogba’s return to action ahead of Wednesday’s derby against Manchester City in the EFL Cup.
But Solskjaer reported Pogba has made a key step in his recovery following surgery, as has fellow midfielder Scott McTominay, who is no longer wearing a knee brace.
“It’s hard to put timescales on long-term injuries because they also need the training before [being] injury-free and need to be fitter,” Solskjaer told reporters.
“Paul’s had his cast off and Scott took his brace off so at least they can now start doing some work on the grass.”
Reports have suggested Pogba and McTominay are both targeting injury returns after the mid-season break, with United to play Chelsea on February 17 after a 16-day stint without a game.
After suffering a small issue in United’s 6-0 FA Cup win over Tranmere Rovers on Sunday, Nemanja Matic is in a race to be fit for the EFL clash with rivals City, who lead the tie 3-1 after a win at Old Trafford this month.
Solskjaer added: “Just Nemanja got a slight problem, so he had to come off at half-time. He has played loads of football so hopefully, we can get him back on the pitch, but I haven’t seen him.
“Let’s see how he is in training. To make sure we give him the best possible chance for Wednesday night we took him off. I think he should be all right but let’s see.”
Eric Bailly is pushing for a return to the line-up, while David de Gea and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be back after getting a rest against Tranmere.