Ole reveals team news for visit of the Cherries
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has provided an update on the shape of his squad ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with Bournemouth.
The Old Trafford encounter, which kicks off at 15:00 BST, provides another opportunity for the Reds to push towards third and fourth place, following the latest round of matches, with Ole's men now in fifth spot.
Defenders Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are definitely ruled out, with the manager providing a more detailed timeframe on a likely return following their continued absence since the return to football last month.
The Reds are on a 15-game unbeaten run and looking to avenge the 1-0 defeat at the Vitality Stadium earlier in the campaign. Bournemouth slipped to 19th in the table in midweek but are only a point from safety, despite losing all three fixtures since the restart.
Jones is still a few weeks away from a comeback and his fellow centre-back Tuanzebe looks set to miss the remainder of the campaign. However, Under-23s full-back Ethan Laird has been drafted into the senior squad, as planned.
“Of course there are a couple of knocks,” Ole told us in the build-up to the weekend game.
“You do start feeling things now after a little bit, so there might be a couple of changes but let’s see today. The boys who didn’t play on Tuesday want to play and are ready to step in if they have to.
“Phil and Axel will still be out for a little while. It’ll be a few weeks before Phil can start training and Axel, we won’t probably see until September. Ethan is going to join the training group now.”
Angel Gomes left the club when his contract expired on 1 July but there is intense competition for places throughout the squad with players champing at the bit for a chance. The fact the manager has hinted at altering his side, after keeping an unchanged league line-up at Brighton, means he may freshen things up.
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There is no Callum Wilson for Bournemouth as the England international striker serves the second of a two-game suspension, after accumulating 10 yellow cards over the course of the campaign. Dominic Solanke started the midweek defeat to Newcastle United alongside former Red Joshua King, who scored the winner the last time the two teams met.
Manager Eddie Howe has reacted strongly to the 4-1 reverse to the Magpies with his team in deep relegation trouble.
“This is probably the toughest test we've had so this is where I'm going to ask the players to really dig deep for this club,” he said on Friday.
“A lot of outsiders will say we're finished but, historically at this club, we've been written off and managed to overcome those odds and achieve great things.”
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Defenders Charlie Daniels and Simon Francis remain out with knee injuries and there are one or two fresh knocks from Wednesday evening.
“We have a couple of players we need to check today,” Howe added.
“We'll need to see how they are before we name the squad.”