The Red Devils gear up to take on cross-town rivals Manchester City in a match that could have a significant bearing in the race for a top four finish.

 

The injury troubles that have plagued Manchester United this year seem to be reducing towards the business end of the season. Long time absentee Antonio Valencia returned to action against Liverpool in the Europa League, while German veteran Bastian Schweinsteiger also got some much needed game time.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal revealed that he focused on the substitutes in training. Van Gaal added that Valencia could be ready to play one half of the match and that his other first-team players were in the recovery phase.

“The players are already recovering, taking ice baths and so on. We cannot train in between. I don’t train [the players] already for two or three weeks,” said the Dutchman, according to the official club website.

“I train the substitutes and, because of this, Antonio Valencia can play 45 minutes tonight and that was the highest [number of minutes he could play]. I could not make the change in the first half [against Liverpool] because extra time was possible. I am always solving this kind of problem.”

Juan Mata returns to action after serving his suspension for the red card he received against West Brom. He takes up the number 10 role, behind lone striker Anthony Martial. Memphis Depay could start on the left wing ahead of 18-year-old Marcus Rashford, who has played seven matches in succession since his debut, while Jesse Lingard could start on the right.

Ander Herrera was supposed to start in Manchester United’s last game, but picked up a groin injury before the match. He is a doubt for the Manchester derby on Sunday, which means Marouane Fellaini and Morgan Schneiderlin will likely be the central midfield pairing. Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Chris Smalling and Guillermo Varela start at the back, and Manchester United’s saviour-in-chief David de Gea will be in goal.

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