As a former United centre-back, Pallister is well placed to assess Vidic's performances.

The Serbian has proved to be an inspirational figure in the Red Devils' Barclays Premier League title quest after putting speculation about his future behind him by signing a new contract in the summer, then inheriting the captain's armband from Gary Neville.

"Nemanja has been immense this season," Pallister told Press Association Sport.

"He is certainly up there as the player of the season.

"The manager has given him the captain's armband, which shows the trust he has in him.

"A lot of things were said about Nemanja and whether he wanted to leave.

"That was put to bed with the new contract and now he looks really settled on the pitch."

Pallister and Vidic will get the chance to discuss that contract saga at a specially-arranged 'Lunch with the Legends' at Old Trafford on Monday, February 14.

Patrice Evra will also be present for a no-holds-barred Q&A session, hosted by television personality and United fan Eamonn Holmes, the third annual fund-raiser held by the Manchester United Foundation.

It will offer Vidic the opportunity to look back on his five years at the club, during which time he has established himself as one of the toughest defenders in the world.

However, Pallister feels the captain's armband has brought an extra dimension to his game, one that brings the best out of those around him.

"He has been a great leader," he said.

"He is so determined in everything that he does.

"He doesn't hold back from any challenges and is very physical. Players respond to that."

There are definitely similarities between the bond Vidic has with Rio Ferdinand and the one Pallister shared with Steve Bruce.

Dubbed 'Dolly and Daisy' by Sir Alex Ferguson, Pallister and Bruce brought United the defensive stability they craved and proved the bedrock for the first of their Premier League titles in 1993, since when United have remained the standard-bearers every opponent judges themselves by.

"It is a blend," said Pallister.

"Steve was like Nemanja. He would put his head into places you would cringe at. They were also both threats in the opponents' box.

"It is no secret that you become a better partnership the more you play together. When those two are at the heart of the defence, United are very hard to break down.

"Last season, and the early part of this one, they were missing a lot of the time and it caused problems.

"They might not have been beaten but United were giving away ridiculous goals at the end of games.

"If that could have been sorted out, they would have been well clear at the top of the table."

As it is, the advantage is five points following Tuesday night's win at Blackpool.

Yet again, United failed to perform for much of the contest, with Ian Holloway convinced the Seasiders were heading for maximum points until Dimitar Berbatov launched the latest in a long line of comebacks 19 minutes from time.

"It is down to resilience and character," said Pallister.

"Those players just do not know when they are beaten.

"They are not as fluent as they have been but their spirit has carried them through.

"There have been times when they should have been beaten but they have managed to squeeze something out of nothing."

When they resume their title quest against Aston Villa at Old Trafford next Tuesday, United will do so knowing victory will take them a game closer to their pre-season objective of a record 19th league title.

"I always expect them to finish top," said Pallister.

"There is a great togetherness about them and you still think there is more to come.

"It is going to take a good team to break them down and end this run, that's for sure."

:: Lunch with Legends takes place on February 14 in the International Suite, Old Trafford (1200 - 1530). Ticket prices:

Gold Table - £1,000 per table of 10 or £100 per person.

Platinum Table including a private drinks reception with the players - £1,500 per table of 10.

Email or call 0161 868 8606 for further details.