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Rooney ready to take off, says Ferguson

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) -- Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney's season could take off after two goals this week, manager Alex Ferguson said on the eve of Saturday's Premier League trip to struggling Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Rooney scored twice in Tuesday's 3-1 victory over Aston Villa in a sign he might be returning to top form after a lacklustre season affected by injury and off-field problems.

After scoring 34 goals last season, he has managed just five in all competitions this term and Ferguson thinks the excellent midweek strikes, particularly the first-minute volley from just inside the penalty area, can ignite his season.

"He has a fantastic energy to play the game, he's always committed to doing his best," Ferguson told a news conference.

"The bonus is...he's got two goals and hopefully there's every chance that scoring the type of goals he scored the other night -- particularly that first goal -- that he'll take off.

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"I think goalscorers are like that, that's what we're going to see with Wayne. He's got 14 league games, European games, FA Cup games left...he could easily get a good average goal scoring this year."

Defender Rafael is available for Saturday's game having missed the last two matches after suffering concussion last week, while midfielder Darren Fletcher, who came off against Villa with an eye injury, has also recovered.

If United avoid defeat at bottom club Wolves (1730GMT), they will set a club record of 30 unbeaten league games having equalled their 1998-99 record with the victory over Villa.

In that season they went on to win a treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.

They are still some way off emulating Arsenal's 2003-04 title-winning season when the London team went unbeaten for the whole campaign as part of a 49-game Premier League unbeaten stretch, which came to an end with defeat by United.

United lead with 54 points from 24 games, with second-placed Arsenal five points and Manchester City a further three points behind in third. Champions Chelsea are fourth, trailing United by 10 points.