Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Team news ahead of Watford FA Cup tie

Friday 08 January 2021 13:30

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Odion Ighalo will be involved in Saturday's third-round Emirates FA Cup tie with Watford.

United have just completed a hectic 18-day period, playing six games, and this weekend's cup tie represents a chance to rotate the team and give some ever-presents a well-earned breather.

The boss would not be pressed on who might specifically be named in his starting XI, but hinted that Odion Ighalo would be part of his plans. Young Uruguayan striker Facundo Pellistri will not be involved, as he has tested positive for COVID-19 and will now undergo a period of self-isolation. New signing Amad Diallo is yet to start training with the first team, so will have to wait a little longer for his debut.

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Nigerian striker Ighalo has not featured since the Paris Saint-Germain defeat in early December, and has not started since the League Cup tie at Brighton in September.

Ole said: “Odion, it’s special for him against Watford. He will be involved; he’s in the squad. He’s been training really well. I was just saying before, I don’t know how many goals be scored, but he was the top scorer by a mile in round robin we just had in training. So he’s not lost any of his sharpness or his quality.
“It’s been difficult for him to be out of the squad as many times of course, because he did really well up to the summer. This season he’s not had as many opportunities, but he’s never let himself down as a professional and a human being.
“In training he always works hard and he’s been a positive influence in the dressing room. He’s in the squad and hopefully I don’t need to put him on that we need goals, but hopefully he can join in.”
Other candidates for inclusion are Eric Bailly, who played four consecutive games over Christmas and New Year before missing the Carabao Cup semi-final with Manchester City on Wednesday.
Jesse Lingard could also feature. The England international has only played twice this season, and has not featured since the League Cup tie at Brighton in September, but could return against Watford, a side who were on the receiving end of one of his greatest goals back in 2017.
Ole reported no other injury concerns while speaking to the media before Saturday's game – a welcome boost ahead of a busy eight days that also includes Premier League trips to Turf Moor and Anfield, to face Burnley and Liverpool, respectively.

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The Hornets released an official injury update yesterday (Thursday), and announced that two injury doubts have returned to full training this week: former United defender Craig Cathcart and forward Joao Pedro.
However, they remain without Domingos Quina, Isaac Success and Stipe Perica, who are all at various stages of their rehabilitation from hamstring problems. Defender Christian Kabasele is also expected to miss the trip to Old Trafford, having played no part in Watford's last two games due to a knee problem, which the Hertfordshire club are continuing to assess.