• Premier League

United hope for Carrick Christmas return

ESPN staff
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Manchester United hope they will have Michael Carrick fit again for Christmas.

The England international midfielder has sat out their last six games with an Achilles injury but has resumed light training.

He is set to miss Sunday's trip to Aston Villa, Wednesday's League Cup quarter-final against Stoke and next Saturday's home match with West Ham.

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But manager David Moyes is optimistic that Carrick will be available again for the busy festive programme when United face Hull on Boxing Day, Norwich 48 hours later, his former club Tottenham on New Year's Day and then Swansea in the FA Cup third round.

Moyes said: "Michael Carrick is getting better and has started some light work back on the grass.

"We're trying to hope, but he's not joined in any football yet. I would still expect it'll be around another two weeks, give or take a few days either side of that.

"I think with the injury he's got, it's something he'll not be able to play game after game after game. It's just something we have to take care of."

In Carrick's absence, Moyes has picked from Marouane Fellaini, Tom Cleverley, Phil Jones and Ryan Giggs in the centre of midfield.

He added: "Obviously Michael is a big influence, so to lose him was a big blow."

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