Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Soslkjaer is set to ring in the changes for the club’s FA Cup assignment against Reading FC.
Manchester United will kickstart their FA Cup journey, when they welcome EFL Championship outfit Reading to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.
Manchester United have been playing with a spring in their step ever since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over the reins towards the end of last month. Under the Norwegian, the Red Devils have won all of their four fixtures and will be hoping to extend that run with a win against Jose Gomes’ Royals this weekend.
Ahead of the cup tie, Solskjaer hinted that he will be looking to rotate his players, having gone through the busy festive period. Sergio Romero should be in line for a start on the day in goal, with first-choice goalkeeper David de Gea set to be rested.
Manchester United continue to be light in options in defence, however, with Eric Bailly out with a suspension, while Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo remain sidelined with injuries. “Rojo [and] Smalling – they’re out,” Solskjaer said in his pre-match press conference.
That would leave the manager with Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones as his only options at the heart of defence and both are expected to start again. There will be changes in the full-back positions, however, with Diogo Dalot and Matteo Darmian in line to replace Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw, respectively.
Paul Pogba, who has been at the forefront of Manchester United’s turnaround under the interim manager, is a major doubt for the game, after he picked up a knock in the 2-0 win over Newcastle United on Wednesday. Marouane Fellaini is the most likely candidate to replace the Frenchman against the Championship side.
“I’m not sure if Paul [Pogba] is going to be ready for this one. He got a knock against Newcastle and hopefully Fellaini will get through the training session today and then we’re more or less a full squad,” the Norwegian manager claimed in his pre-match presser.
£52 million summer signing Fred is likely to make a rare start, replacing Ander Herrera in the lineup, while academy graduate Andreas Pereira is in line for his first start under the new manager, at the base of the Manchester United midfield.
Wholesale changes in attack are also on the cards, with Solskjaer already confirming two of the players that will be featuring in the FA Cup tie. “Some of them are itching now to play, of course. Get Lukaku a start, get Sanchez a start. That’s important for them, because they need more game time,” the Manchester United caretaker boss said.
Teenage prodigy Tahith Chong was in the travelling party for the midweek game against Newcastle and could be set for his first-team debut on Saturday, starting in his preferred position on the right flank, to complement Lukaku and Sanchez.