Louis van Gaal could be without a number of stars for Manchester United’s FA Cup third round clash with Sheffield United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Phil Jones and Ashley Young were both withdrawn during Saturday’s 2-1 win over Swansea, joining the list long-term absentees in Luke Shaw (broken leg – March), Antonio Valencia (foot – Feb), Marcos Rojo (shoulder – unknown) and Jesse Lingard (hamstring – unknown).
Speaking to the press after the Swansea game, Van Gaal confirmed the duo had picked up injuries.
“Phil Jones is injured, and it’s more or less the same injury as before,” he said. “Ashley Young has played a lot of matches in a row, so he was stiff and had to be changed. It was not voluntary, I changed them because I need to change.”
Jones’s knock could prove a real worry for United as his previous ankle injury saw him miss a month of action and Young is unlikely to be risked for the weekend.
The Dutchman will be minded to rest some of his first-teamers with United three points off the top four and facing crucial away fixtures against Newcastle United and Liverpool when the Premier League resumes.
But having already been eliminated in home tie against Middlesbrough in the League Cup earlier this campaign, Van Gaal will knows United must progress to the next round with the FA Cup representing their best chance of silverware this season.
Michael Carrick should face the Blades if fit and Adreas Pereira’s brace – including scoring direct from a corner kick – against Tottenham U21s in the week could see him trusted with a starting role. You have to see United as favourites for that match, the combination of the free bet and £5 each week from SkyBet, you might as well use that free money to double it on the Red Devils.
Nick Powell missed the Tottenham game with a calf strain so is a major doubt but Will Keane, recalled from a loan at Preston, could make the squad.
Despite also having his loan spell with Borussia Dortmund terminated, Adnan Januzaj is not match fit due to the winter break in Germany.
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson could start at left back with Daley Blind moving to the centre and homegrown youngsters Axel Tuanzebe, Marcus Rashford and Sean Goss will all be hoping for minutes having been included in recent match day squads.