Ralf Rangnick has said he is hopeful Harry Maguire and Phil Jones will be fit for Saturday’s trip to Villa Park.
Manchester United face Aston Villa twice in six days, with the Red Devils winning the first of those encounters 1-0 at Old Trafford on Monday night, courtesy of Scott McTominay’s early header.
Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane played at the heart of the defence for the hosts in the FA Cup third-round tie, with the latter United’s best player on the night.
However, Rangnick explained after the game that the selection of the pair was based largely on neccesity, with Harry Maguire and Phil Jones missing through injury, while Eric Bailly is currently away with Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations.
But the United interim manager is hoping for more defensive options for Saturday’s league fixture at Villa Park
“Today we had only two centre-backs available, all the others were injured or not yet available,” the German told reporters after the game.
“So for us it’s very important to have Rapha back again. Hopefully for the away game at Villa on Saturday we will also have a few players available and also Harry as a centre-back, that would give us more options.
“Phil Jones hopefully will also be fit for the game on Saturday, but today we only had the two of them. I was very happy that Rapha is back again.”
Maguire has missed the last two games in all competitions with a chest injury, while Jones featured in the 1-0 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers last week, but sat out the FA Cup win with a calf problem.
Another player who is a slight doubt for the clash with Steven Gerrard’s men is Cristiano Ronaldo, with the No.7 missing Monday’s encounter due to a hip issue.
"I spoke with Cristiano yesterday before training, he told me that he’s had some problems for the last couple of days,” Rangnick told the club’s official website ahead of the game.
“Minor problems, but in the end, we decided that it made more sense to not take any risks in a game that could easily last 120 minutes, so we just decided to rest him, not play him at all."
Jadon Sancho is another doubt, after he missed Monday's win with hamstring issues, although he is expected to be fit for the journey down the M6 at the weekend.