Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes in training

Early team news: Fulham v United

Monday 18 January 2021 15:00

Manchester United face a third Premier League away trip in succession when we travel to Craven Cottage to play Fulham on Wednesday.

With the match against the relegation-threatened Cottagers arriving just four days before another encounter with Liverpool, this time in the Emirates FA Cup, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may seek to rotate his side once again, in order to keep things fresh.

The boss is yet to select the same XI in back-to-back fixtures this season, with Eric Bailly, Nemanja Matic and Edinson Cavani dropping out of the side at Anfield, after helping United to win 1-0 at Burnley last week.

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Those three look the likeliest to come back in when United take on Scott Parker’s improving side in the 20:15 GMT kick-off, while Alex Telles, Mason Greenwood and Donny van de Beek could also make a case for inclusion, considering their reduced workload over the Christmas and New Year period.

Ole may be keeping an eye on suspensions, too – with Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes all one booking away from a ban.

Should any of them be cautioned at the Cottage, they’ll miss next Wednesday’s clash with Sheffield United at Old Trafford and, with the suspension threshold rising from five to 10 yellows after this game, that may not be a risk Solskjaer is willing to take, despite the trio all toeing the disciplinary line on Merseyside.

Fernandes was substituted in the latter stages of the goalless draw with Jurgen Klopp’s side, but Solskjaer clarified that was down to the state of the match, rather than the Portuguese midfielder’s physical condition.

“It was a tactical decision,” admitted Ole. “Bruno has been running his socks off for us in every single game since he came here. Running, more or less, every game. Towards the end, I felt Paul's physical presence in there might be a chance for us.

“And Mason [Greenwood], if he gets a chance, he can score in the blink of a second. So it was a throw of the dice to get Mason on, even though he had to defend against Robertson.”

Scott McTominay was forced to call for the physio just prior to that change, and for a moment it appeared our no.39 would be the man coming off instead.

However, the Scotland international saw out the game and there was no suggestion of any lasting damage.

Indeed, United’s only current injury concerns are Phil Jones and Brandon Williams, neither of whom have started a Premier League match in 2020/21.

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WHAT’S THE NEWS FROM THE FULHAM CAMP?

Full-back Antonee Robinson has been a key part of Scott Parker's improving defence in recent weeks, but he will miss Wednesday’s game through suspension. The USA international was shown a straight red card for a flying tackle on Cesar Azpilicueta during the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea. Top scorer Bobby Decordova-Reid is also banned, after picking up his fifth booking of the campaign.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek sat out that game, as the Blues are his parent club, but should be back in contention for our visit, while Aleksandar Mitrovic could also return from injury.

Cottagers midfielders Tom Cairney and Mario Lemina haven’t featured for a month and it is unclear as to whether they will have recovered in time for Wednesday.

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