Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Wayne Rooney could return for Manchester United against Manchester City on April 17.
The striker is currently sidelined with an ankle problem picked up in the Red Devils' 2-1 defeat to Bayern Munich last Tuesday.
Fears were raised as to his long-term fitness the moment he hobbled out of the Champions League quarter-final clash at Allianz Arena.
Relief for United and England came with the news that he was only expected to be out for up to three weeks, but his absence could yet put paid to the Red Devils' hopes of landing major silverware this term.
Understandably, they are keen to have Rooney back in action as quickly as possible and Ferguson is hoping his talisman may return for a crucial derby encounter at Eastlands later this month.
"I think he will be back at the most in three weeks and we have earmarked the game at Manchester City," said the United boss.
"There will be time for him to still have a big impact on our season.
"Hopefully if we get past Bayern Munich he would be available for the semi-finals."
United welcome Bayern to Old Trafford in the return leg of their last eight contest on Wednesday.
Rooney will definitely play no part in that fixture, as Ferguson's men look to turn the tie on its head, but veteran goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is confident the Red Devils can prevail without their leading forward.
"The one thing we know about Bayern is that they will be mentally strong - as they were in the first leg after we scored first," said the Dutchman.
"It's a very German strength, of course. They are very fit and they have a belief in themselves that keeps them going right until the very end.
"And having (Louis) Van Gaal as their coach will have only added to their quality and belief because I know from experience he is a man who leaves nothing to chance.
"He is someone I have a great deal of respect for, and I know he will have Bayern set up the right way to get a result to go through at Old Trafford.
"The thing is, we also have a very good coach - and Ferguson knows what will be in Van Gaal's thoughts even better than I do.
"We have the experience to progress beyond Bayern and we also have the quality.
"And even though we were disappointed to lose the first game in the last minute, we know we can win even without Rooney."