Owen hopes to return this season
Former England striker Michael Owen hopes he could still have a role to play for title-chasing Manchester United before the end of the season.
The 32-year-old has not featured since November 2 due to a thigh injury but is now back in full training.
With just three games of the Premier League campaign remaining, Owen accepts he is unlikely to start but is keen to be involved from the bench.
United lead Manchester City by three points at the top of the table ahead of next Monday's potentially decisive derby at the Etihad Stadium.
Owen told MUTV: "I can't imagine myself getting back and starting in the 11.
"My mindset has got to be get myself ready mentally, physically and everything else because I might be needed for 10 or 20 minutes at a late stage of the season.
"Who knows? It could be the last game of the season at Sunderland.
"I might have built up enough, whether playing in a reserves game or two, and then that's fine.
"But I think the immediate thing is to get myself mentally ready, just in case the manager says, 'I'll put you on the bench' or whatever and I'll come on for 15 minutes and try to nick a goal if we're struggling."
Owen has made just one Premier League appearance this season, in a draw at Stoke in September, but scored three times in two Carling Cup outings.