Nemanja Vidic could make his comeback after almost eight months out injured when Manchester United take on Norwegian side Valerenga on Sunday.
The Serb has been sidelined since injuring cruciate knee ligaments in United's 2-1 Champions League defeat to FC Basel in December 2011.
But Vidic, who missed the pre-season tour of South Africa and China, has been included in the squad for friendlies against Valerenga, Barcelona and Hannover.
United are without four other defenders: Fabio da Silva, who has been loaned to QPR, Rafael da Silva, who is on Olympic duty with Brazil, and the injured Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans.
Sir Alex Ferguson said: "Chris Smalling is out for 10 weeks with his metatarsal operation and Jonny Evans is still just in light training. They're big losses at the moment and they will miss the start of the season. Hopefully we don't get any more injuries as it would leave me a bit short."