Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is set to play tonight against Scunthorpe United.

The Daily Star says the England captain has made just one appearance for ­Manchester United this season after struggling to overcome a knee injury.

Ferdinand damaged ligaments prior to the World Cup and has been sidelined ever since, apart from an outing in last week's woeful goalless draw against ­Rangers in the Champions League.

The defender was expected to face Liverpool at Old Trafford at the weekend, but he was absent with what United claimed to be a "sickness bug".

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has handed the captain's armband to Nemanja Vidic in Ferdinand's absence.

And with Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling providing strong competition for places in the centre of defence, Ferdinand is currently far from a guaranteed name on Fergie's teamsheet.

Ferdinand will be joined at Glanford Park by Michael Owen, who is also being given the chance to revive his United career in the third round of the Carling Cup.