Louis van Gaal has warned striker Robin van Persie he will have to fight for his place as the Manchester United manager prepares to welcome Radamel Falcao back to his squad.
Van Gaal is hoping the injury-hit Colombian can finally display the qualities that have made him one of the most feared strikers in world football - especially important for United with Van Persie struggling for form.
Falcao's loan spell at Old Trafford has been disrupted by injuries but Van Gaal is hopeful he will be in the squad for the visit of Hull on Saturday.
Asked if Falcao's return would increase the pressure on Van Persie, who was substituted against his former club Arsenal last weekend having had just 13 touches of the ball, Van Gaal said: "Every player in my selection has to fight for his position and I shall always take the best of the players and it must also be suitable for the mix of players. So it is also an obligation of a player that he does that."
Manchester United injury list
Manchester United injury list
1/5 Wayne Rooney
There is uncertainty over the extent of the Manchester United captain's injury, with fears he may have suffered ligament damage to his knee during the 3-0 defeat to Everton. Unlikely to feature against West Brom and could miss the rest of the season.
2/5 Michael Carrick
Having limped off in the 4-2 derby victory over Manchester City, it's uncertain if the England midfielder will fit for this weekend. Was unable to even make the bench for the defeat to Everton.
The right-back's return to action has suffered a set-back. After making a short appearance in the 3-0 win over Tottenham in March, the Brazilian has been pushing for full fitness. However he suffered a blow to the ribs in an Under-21 match against Leicester and could miss the rest of the season.
4/5 Marcos Rojo
Having missed the games against Chelsea and Everton due to a groin injury, the Argentina international is pushing for a return and could feature this weekend.
5/5 Phil Jones
Fellow defender Phil Jones also missed the defeats to Chelsea and Evertton but the England international has returned to training after a foot complaint and could play at against West Brom.
Asked if he felt confident that Falcao can start to live up to his potential, the United boss added: "I hope so because we have him on loan because of that."
It is not just Falcao poised to provide a huge boost for United, but Argentina defender Marcos Rojo is also in contention after being out with a shoulder injury.
Van Gaal told a news conference at United's training centre: "We have to wait and see until the last training session of course. It's always difficult to say but we have good news, yes. You have to read between the lines.
"I have to train the last session and I live day by day at this moment. So maybe Falcao can come back in the 18 [matchday squad], maybe Rojo can come back in the 18. That's it I think."
Van Gaal said he was happy that United were in the top four despite their injury problems and having played some heavyweight opposition in recent games.
"When you see how our preparation was, how many injuries, then it was a very big test and after the heavy opponents we are still fourth so I'm happy," said Van Gaal.
"But we have to be at least fourth at the end of the league and not now. Now is not so important. We have to improve our playing style and beat our opponents more easily."
Van Gaal was also careful to provide an exact statement on England full-back Luke Shaw, who suffered an ankle injury against the Gunners.
A week ago the United manager's comments on Daley Blind's knee problem were misinterpreted and led to the club's 3.5million Twitter followers being erroneously advised the Dutch player was out for six months.
Van Gaal said: "Last time I have said something and it was not interpreted so good so I have asked my medical advisor and maybe Manchester United Twitter account can pay attention to it!"
The United manager then read from a prepared statement saying: "Luke sustained an ankle ligament injury but with no serious complications and he will be out for the next few weeks because of this."
He then added: "I have said that also with Daley Blind it will not be six months."
Phil Jones (shin), Jonny Evans (ankle) and Rafael (hamstring) are all still out injured.