Early team news: Nottingham Forest v United

Thursday 28 December 2023 12:00

Manchester United will be hoping to use Boxing Day's remarkable comeback against Aston Villa as a springboard on Saturday, when we travel away to Nottingham Forest for our final game of 2023.

It looked as though Ten Hag's team were set to suffer a second Premier League loss on the bounce when we returned to the dressing room at half-time two goals down, courtesy of John McGinn and Leander Dendoncker. 

However, the Reds re-emerged from the tunnel for the second half with a steely determination, personified by Alejandro Garnacho on the right wing. He netted twice, and saw a further strike ruled out for offside. 

It then fell to Rasmus Hojlund the seal the victory in front of the Stretford End, with his first Premier League goal. His precise volley pinged off the post and into the back of the net, before the Dane ran off to join a deafening crowd erupting with passion.

Aside from the celebrations, the dramatic clash also contained key hints as to who might be available for the upcoming bout with Forest.

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Top 10 comeback clinchers

Top 10 | Watch a spine-tingling countdown of our greatest Premier League winners, after being two goals down...

The game saw starts for both Raphael Varane and Christian Eriksen, who had been missing in recent matches through various issues.

Varane put in a solid display over the 90 minutes at Anfield in mid-December, but was then absent from the squad through illness when we lost away at West Ham in the following game. As he was back in the starting XI and played the full game against the Villans, it appears that the Frenchman has returned to health and should be available to travel to the East Midlands.

Eriksen had faced a longer period on the sidelines prior to his start on Boxing Day, having been injured last month in our home match against Luton Town. He made a cameo appearance from the bench last weekend against the Hammers, but played 94 minutes against Unai Emery's side before being substituted for Dan Gore, so the Dane is also expected to be up for selection this weekend.

However, as two returned, another two became injury doubts. Luke Shaw and Sofyan Amrabat were absent at Old Trafford, having both been included in our previous matchday squad at the London Stadium.

Erik ten Hag told club media ahead of the Villa game that both were sidelined with 'minor knocks' that he hopes shouldn't keep them away from the team for too long. They join Anthony Martial on the sideline, who has been out of the squad through illness since the Bournemouth defeat. The boss may provide an update on this trio in his pre-match press conference, which you will be able to see across our platforms this Friday.

Elsewhere, Amad has been seen training at Carrington in recent weeks, so a first start of the season could be on the cards for the Ivorian winger sometime in the near future. 

Longer-term absentees Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro and Mason Mount are not expected back until the new year.

Erik on his selection Video

Erik on his selection

Erik ten Hag explains why Luke Shaw and Sofyan Amrabat miss our clash with Aston Villa...


Nuno Espirito Santo will face the Reds at the City Ground for his third game in charge of Forest, but will do so without the services of forward Taiwo Awoniyi, who notched four goals in the Premier League before a groin injury enforced a period on the sidelines. The striker's expected return date is some point in 2024. He joins Serge Aurier and Felipe on the treatment table, who are both also not expected back until the new year.

Willy Boly will be available for selection to face Ten Hag's side, having been absent from the Newcastle victory due to suspension, following two yellow-card offences in Forest's defeat to Bournemouth. 

However, Ibrahim Sangare will miss this Saturday's game for accumulating five yellows, which automatically leads to a one-match suspension.