Manchester United face concerns in defence ahead of this weekend's visit of Sunderland that could result in manager Louis van Gaal splitting his first-choice centre-back pairing.
Luke Shaw will be sidelined until well into 2016 after having two operations on the horrific broken leg he suffered in the Champions League defeat to PSV Eindhoven earlier this month, leaving Van Gaal with issues on the left side of his defence.
Marcus Rojo had been drafted in to fill the void left by Shaw, only to put in a hugely disappointing performance against Southampton last weekend. Worse was to come when Rojo suffered a hamstring injury, something that caused Van Gaal to rage after he was not informed of the severity of the injury, and matters took another turn Paddy McNair picked up a knock in the same match that means he is unlikely to face the Black Cats this weekend.
With his choices limited, Van Gaal could be forced to deploy Daley Blind on the left and break up his partnership with Chris Smalling in the centre of the field. However, the return of Phil Jones from a blood clot – despite the suggestion that the England international is not yet fully fit – could alleviate those issues as he could partner his compatriot in central defence with Matteo Darmian on the right.
Elsewhere, Van Gaal has a fully fit squad to choose from, and he is almost certain to start young France international Anthony Martial following his impressive start to the season which has seen the former Monaco forward net four goals in as many games.
Should he start, Memphis Depay could find himself left out of the first team, with Martial set to join Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and possibly Ashley Young in the attacking quartet.
Manchester United injuries:
Luke Shaw (defender) – broken leg – expected back April 2016.
Marcus Rojo (defender) – hamstring injury – expected back 17 October 2015.
Paddy McNair (defender) – muscular injury – no return date set.Reuse content