Fergie hopeful over Neville

Sir Alex Ferguson is confident Gary Neville will soon return despite suffering a number of setbacks since sustaining an ankle injury almost a year ago.

The Manchester United captain has played just twice for the reserves since sustaining an ankle injury in March last year and lasted just 45 minutes of a reserve game against Everton last month.

The England international has attempted to make a number of aborted comebacks since breaking his ankle but has also struggled with a series of other niggling problems.

However, Ferguson is adamant Neville will make a successful return to United's side.

"Gary is training, the same as last week, and we are hoping there are no more setbacks and that he gets a trouble-free run-in," Ferguson told the Daily Telegraph.

"If he does that, then I have no doubts he will come back."

Meanwhile, Ferguson believes the destination of the Premier League title could be decided by goal difference this season.

United currently lie in second spot, three points behind leaders Arsenal, but have a superior goal difference to their rivals.

Ferguson is keen for his side to improve their goal difference advantage, feeling it could prove pivotal at the end of the campaign.

"We're scoring a lot of goals and it could be an issue," said Ferguson. "If it goes to goal difference, you want your own tally to be good.

"I've always said having a superior goal difference is worth an extra point, which could be vital this season."