The United captain could return ahead of schedule from his latest injury against Romanian side Cluj at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Ferguson said: "I'm hopeful Nemanja will play against Cluj. It depends on him, but his training has been quite good and this is a big bonus for us.
"He has no pain in the knee from this injury and it's a different one from the last time so we have no long-term concerns.
"He's going to make a big difference for us in the second half of the season. He's a battler, an absolute competitor. He's got that dour, uncompromising way of his and he likes defending.
"He's good in the dressing room, as well. Experienced players have that influence. He is definitely a leader."