Team news: Ole assesses squad before Wolves
Manchester United are on the brink of a defensive boost but probably not in time for our Emirates FA Cup third-round tie against Wolves on Saturday.
In an exclusive interview with MUTV, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed that Axel Tuanzebe is among five defenders on the verge of a first-team return.
The 22-year-old has been missing since the Carabao Cup victory over Colchester United, but is in line to make a comeback soon, alongside long-term absentees Eric Bailly, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Diogo Dalot and Marcos Rojo.
“There’s a little bit of illness in the camp, but that’s normal through this time of year, so we just have to find out tomorrow who’s waking up okay,” Ole told Stewart Gardner prior to his pre-match press conference.
“Apart from that, players are coming back from injuries. Hopefully we can see Axel soon. Tim and Eric are going to play Reserves games soon, hopefully.
“Diogo’s back obviously, Marcos Rojo hopefully soon back, so we’re getting there.”
Bailly trained with the first-team squad on Monday after recovering from knee surgery in the summer, while Fosu-Mensah hasn’t played for United since May 2017.
The Dutch international spent two seasons out on loan, first at Crystal Palace and then Fulham, while a knee operation ruled him out for the first half of 2019/20.
Dalot featured for the Under-19s in a friendly against Milan prior to Christmas, while Rojo is on the way back after two months out. The Norwegian added that there was likely to be some squad rotation at Molineux after a demanding Christmas involving four Premier League games in 10 days.
“There will be some changes. We need to look after the players,” Solskjaer added.
Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay have both been ruled out for the next few weeks, meaning Solskjaer is looking for additional options in midfield, although the Wolves game may come too soon for youngsters James Garner and Dylan Levitt.
“We’ve had a couple of youngsters doing well. Jimmy, Dylan but they’ve been injured and ill so they’ve lost quite a bit of football lately. They’re just getting back and I think we’ll see Jimmy on Monday in the Reserves.”
Ole also moved to clarify Pogba's injury situation in his press conference, explaining: "Paul came back after a long spell out, two games, had a reaction, and couldn't go to Burnley, as he felt his ankle was sore. We did a scan and it's not the same injury, it's a different injury. Of course, when you get that scan, we speak to him.
"You always consult your own medical people as well, like I did when I did my operation. You want the best second opinion and the advice was to have it done. It's not a major one, and probably, as I said, three or four weeks."
Sergio Romero will definitely start in goal, as he did in last season's FA Cup clash at Molineux, Solskjaer has confirmed.
The Argentinian has featured in seven of our nine matches in cup competitions this season, keeping five clean sheets.
WOLVES TEAM NEWS
Wanderers' head coach Nuno Espirito Santo revealed that forward Diogo Jota will miss the third-round clash after picking up an impact injury during their 2-1 defeat to Watford on New Year's Day.
The Portuguese joins Willy Boly (leg) and Morgan Gibbs-White (back) on the treatment table for the home side.
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