Early team news for United's trip to Tottenham
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hope to have virtually a fully fit squad available for Manchester United's game at Tottenham Hotspur on Friday night.
The Reds have been building up to the 20:15 BST kick-off, a key clash in the race for a top-four slot, since being allowed to return to training. A full-scale practice game at Old Trafford was followed by a couple of friendlies against West Brom last Friday afternoon.
It has enabled the players to build their match sharpness in readiness for the battle against Jose Mourinho's side, which will, of course, be our first visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, albeit without any supporters present.
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Final preparations are under way at the Aon Training Complex, as the Reds train ahead of Friday's fixture against Spurs.
Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford should have a great chance of being involved, after recovering from foot and back injuries respectively, while defender Eric Bailly is also fighting fit again.
Andreas Pereira looked in fine fettle when scoring twice in the second friendly against West Brom and centre-forward Odion Ighalo is available after extending his loan from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua until January 2021.
There will be plenty of selection posers for the boss to ponder with youngsters Teden Mengi and James Garner also joining training as the hectic fixture schedule begins later this week.
Ole told us recently that he may need to ease those who had been injured back into the fray but the change to permitting five substitutions and having nine instead of seven players on the bench will come into his thinking.
“Well, we hope everybody’s going to be ready for the first game,” he said, in our exclusive interview.
“We’ve had time out so I don’t think we can expect that those lads who’ve missed lots of the football can last the full game. But now the rules have changed, we can use five subs and have nine on the bench.
“I think that’s helpful because footballers, after being out for so long, going into competitive games will be a challenge for them and we have to look after them injury-wise and fitness-wise. We can’t just flog one player and say to them, ‘you play every game and every minute’ because it might be a period when we have to rotate quite often.”
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TOTTENHAM TEAM NEWS
Spurs' attacking midfielder Dele Alli will miss the game as he serves a one-match suspension imposed by the Football Assocation for misconduct.
Four players who would have been sidelined had the game been played on the original date in March - Moussa Sissoko, Steven Bergwijn, Heung-min Son and star striker Harry Kane - all featured in a friendly with Norwich City to boost their hopes of selection on Friday.
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French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is also fit again and manager Mourinho handed some minutes to young faces Harvey White, Dennis Cirkin and George Marsh in the friendly against the Canaries. Another prospect, Irish striker Troy Parrott, is set to miss out through injury.
“It was very important to do it and to go into this last week without any injuries, because we all know in these first matches, even friendlies, there is always the risk of getting injuries,” said the Tottenham boss, when speaking to Spurs TV after the Norwich test.
Ole and his opposite number will provide further updates when speaking to the media later this week, in advance of Friday's much-anticipated clash.