It’s amusing, in that gut-wrenching way, to think that Owen Hargreaves was included in our Champions League squad for the group stages, with the belief our midfielder would be back by then.

We’re now a handful of games away from the end of the season and it’s looking again as though Hargreaves is on the cusp of making a return.

However, the manager has claimed we’re in no hurry to rush him back as we have plenty of options.

“It is difficult to say when Owen will be back; he is training well and I had him in the squad for the Chelsea game,” said Ferguson. “His training performances have been fine but I think at the moment midfield is not an issue for us because we have plenty of alternatives.”

Plenty of alternatives? Really? Is that why we were playing Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs in the centre of our midfield against Blackburn, with the ageing pair having very little to offer?

Michael Carrick has gone AWOL this season, Anderson has been out for months, and Darren Fletcher can’t do it all by himself every week.

I’d say Hargreaves absence is very much an issue for us, or at least, having a player in Hargreaves’ mould if he is never to play again, so let’s hope the manager is simply trying to play things down, rather than this being what he actually believes.