Last updated : 04 January 2004 By Editor

From The M.E.N.:

Tim Howard Will be available to Manchester United for the rest of the season after FIFA shuffled its World Cup qualifying dates.

The Reds had initially feared they would be without the American keeper, described as the Reds' "player of the year" by both manager Sir Alex Ferguson and defender Gary Neville, for as many as seven matches.

He was due to jet off across the Atlantic for matches on January 17 and 21, February 18 and March 31 - until FIFA changed the qualifying procedure, meaning that the USA now don't begin its qualifying process until June.

The original plan would have meant Howard missing a league game against Wolves, and possibly those against Leeds, Arsenal and Charlton, as well as any third round FA Cup replay against Aston Villa, and FA Cup fourth and fifth round games, should the Reds progress.