Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed rumours that captain Nemanja Vidic could return before the end of the season.

32445 - Fergie crushes talk of early Vidic comeback

Vidic suffered cruciate ligament damage in United's Champions League defeat at Basel in December and had to undergo surgery on his right knee.

He was initially ruled out for the remainder of the current campaign, but last month reports surfaced which suggested he could be ahead of schedule in his battle to return to fitness.

However, Ferguson has moved decisively to take the sting out of this speculation. "I think he's on schedule really," he said. "It'll be the beginning of the season.

"It won't be any sooner - I can assure you of that. There's no point trying to rush him for the end of the season, it's just not possible.

"So it means we'll have him at the beginning of next season, giving him a full recovery as that will be something like eight months.

"We want him in training when we start [pre-season] training."