Manchester United hopes to have Wayne Rooney back to face Sunderland on Sunday having initially believed the striker would be out for the rest of the season.

United manager Alex Ferguson, who said last Saturday he expected Rooney would be out for two to three weeks with a groin injury, revealed Friday that the striker was back in training.

Ferguson said Rooney had recovered from the ankle injury he picked up playing in the Champions League quarterfinal against Bayern Munich and appeared to be over the groin problem he picked up in training a week ago.

“We expect Wayne to join us in training and possibly Rio Ferdinand as well,” Ferguson said. “We will see how they do but we have a couple of days. Groin injuries can be a problem at this time of year when the grounds start to get firm but hopefully if he comes through today, it gives us something to think about on Sunday.

“Wayne missed last week’s game against Tottenham to allow the ankle to settle. We don’t have any issues with that now. Hopefully he is OK.”

United is a point behind Chelsea in the title race with two games to go.

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