MANCHESTER UNITED could welcome back centre-halves Harry Maguire and Phil Jones for their Premier League clash with Aston Villa this weekend.
The Red Devils are preparing to face Steven Gerrard's side for a second time in six days after beating them 1-0 in the FA Cup on Monday night.
Club captain Maguire and Jones both missed the victory through injury but boss Ralf Rangnick is optimistic they will be available for the game at Villa Park on Saturday.
He said: "Hopefully we will have a few other players available, Harry and Phil hopefully, for Villa on Saturday."
Maguire missed the 1-0 loss to Wolves earlier this month – a selection issue that allowed Jones to return to the side for the first time in nearly two years.
But the ex-Blackburn man was then ruled out of the FA Cup clash himself following a fitness problem.
When asked about the absence of Jones, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho, Rangnick added: "I wouldn’t say they are injured but they have muscular problems.
"With Phil Jones, he’s having some minor problems with his calf, in a cup game tonight it doesn’t make any sense."
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Man Utd rode their luck in the victory over Villa as Gerrard's men dominated large periods of the match and also had two goals ruled out.
Victor Lindelof partnered Raphael Varane in the heart of the Red Devils defence but looked incredibly shaky on his first start since returning from Covid.
United were beaten earlier on in the season by Villa and will be concerned by the level of pressure they came under in their FA Cup tie.
But Rangnick has played down the psychological impact of playing them twice in the same week.
“This also happens in other countries, in other leagues, if you play in the cup," he added.
"In this moment, we’re having exactly that situation that we’re playing them twice but since it’s different competitions, we have to take one game after the other."
Man Utd sit seventh in the Premier League table with 31 points from 19 games.
They are four points behind Arsenal – who currently occupy the final Champions League place.
Following the trip to Villa, Rangnick's men face Brentford and West Ham before the end of the month.
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