MANCHESTER, England, Feb 24 (Reuters) Rio Ferdinand will return from injury to help Manchester United's bid to win the League Cup on Sunday.
The England defender has recovered from the hamstring strain that ruled him out of last Saturday's FA Cup defeat at Liverpool, United manager Alex Ferguson told a news conference today.
Utility player John O'Shea also returns to the United squad to face Wigan Athletic at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
O'Shea successfully came through a reserve game on Tuesday after a month out of action with a rib injury.
United's only injury problems concern long-term absentees, including midfielder Alan Smith, who will not travel with the squad.
He is recuperating from a broken leg and dislocated ankle suffered in last weekend's game at Liverpool.
Smith has since undergone surgery and Ferguson expects the him to return to action early next season.
''The operation was very successful,'' Ferguson said.
''It was a bad injury, of course, but there are a lot of things in his favour. One of them is his courage and another is his age.
''He is 25 and there is absolutely no question that he can come back from that. Maybe it's a longer one than normal for a broken leg but there were complications with the ankle joint, of course.
''They have plated the fibula and I think in six to seven months he should be back.
REUTERS DH PM2052