Early team news for the derby

Thursday 12 January 2023 13:00

Manchester United are preparing for a blockbuster derby against neighbours City, kicking off at Old Trafford on Saturday at 12:30 GMT.

The Reds warmed up for the huge clash with a 3-0 victory against Charlton Athletic to progress to a two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest. Pep Guardiola's men, meanwhile, suffered a shock 2-0 loss to Southampton in the same competition but will be focused on a match that will have obvious repercussions towards the top of the Premier League table.

Anticipation is starting to build for the local contest, with the eyes of the world on the Theatre of Dreams, and Erik ten Hag will be boosted by the return of Bruno Fernandes. The Portugal international missed the midweek cup tie due to suspension.

Diogo Dalot was forced off against the Addicks in the first half, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka taking his place, but the boss hoped there was an element of it being a precaution for the defender, who returned from the World Cup with an injury.

Raphael Varane should be available, while Lisandro Martinez made his first start since Qatar against Charlton on Tuesday, and helped the team keep a clean sheet. 

When asked if Varane and centre-forward Anthony Martial were injured or just rested, Ten Hag replied :"Yes, the last one. I think yeah [they will be okay for the derby]." Anthony Elanga led the line before Marcus Rashford was introduced as a substitute, playing centrally and scoring two late goals. Casemiro also had a major influence on proceedings when he came on.

Donny van de Beek and Jadon Sancho have been sidelined of late, while Kobbie Mainoo made his senior debut last time out and winger Facundo Pellistri had a real impact off the bench when making his maiden competitive appearance for the Reds.

Jack Butland has signed on loan from Crystal Palace but was not involved against Charlton, as Tom Heaton made his first start. David De Gea, of course, can be expected to return between the posts against Pep Guardiola's side on Saturday.

We hope to cover training at Carrington and the manager will address the media on Friday, so more team news is anticipated before derby day itself.

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The Blues made a number of changes for their recent cup games, against Chelsea and Southampton. While they impressively brushed Chelsea aside in the Emirates FA Cup at the Etihad Stadium, our city rivals were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by the Saints, following a surprise 2-0 loss on the south coast.

Kevin De Bruyne and leading scorer Erling Haaland were unused subs at the weekend but both came on in the midweek clash at St Marys. World Cup-winner Julian Alvarez was named in the XI for both fixtures.

Kalvin Phillips made his first start for the club against Southampton, since joining from Leeds United in the summer, before making way for regular midfield man Rodri in the 63rd minute.

Ederson should return in goal but there is a doubt over John Stones's participation in defence, with the England international described as "not fully fit" on Wednesday.

Ruben Dias appears to be the only player definitely out, due to a hamstring injury.