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Saturday 16 December 2017

Rojo return to lift United as they chase Champions League spot

LVG's list of injuries looks to be improving

Marcos Rojo
Marcos Rojo
Louis van Gaal

Marcos Rojo has handed Manchester United a boost after returning to training following the dislocation of a shoulder in the derby defeat to Manchester City earlier this month.

With Louis van Gaal preparing United for tomorrow's visit of Hull City the game may come too soon for Rojo as the manager has previously stated players have to train for up to two weeks before being considered.

After Hull, United face Stoke City on Tuesday and Southampton the following week so Rojo should come into contention for these matches if he is not deemed match fit for the Tigers game.

It was initially feared Rojo could be out for as long as six weeks following the injury on 2 November, but the Argentinian has recovered quickly at a time when United are suffering from a long casualty list.

Ander Herrera, the £28m summer signing, is facing a fight to reclaim a starting berth after being demoted to the reserves this week. The Spanish midfielder began the season in Van Gaal's first XI but lost his place following indifferent form and injury, having suffered a fractured rib.

After the injury the 25-year-old was selected for the 2-2 draw at West Bromwich Albion - playing in a corset - but he has not featured since, with Fellaini scoring a fine equaliser at the Hawthorns and continuing to impress subsequently.

The Belgian has started all of United's four games since, including meetings with Chelsea and Manchester City, while Herrera played for United's Under-21s this week, scoring in the 5-0 win over Blackburn Rovers in a Lancashire Senior Cup tie.

Herrera has so far struggled with the pace of the Premier League and hasn't been an effective influence since joining from Athletic Bilbao.

returning

Jonny Evans, who also played against Rovers after returning from a broken foot, said: "I think the manager will have to assess that [a first-team recall] and also the fitness coaches. I've been training for a week or two now but it's taking me time to get my fitness up as I've been out for so long."

Hull City will lead the chase to sign Darren Fletcher if the Scotland midfielder decides to leave Manchester United in January.

Fletcher has become an increasingly peripheral figure at Old Trafford since he was appointed vice-captain by Louis van Gaal in the summer and started United's first three games of the season. The 30-year-old has played less than half an hour of club football as a substitute since August, including a late appearance off he bench in last weekend's win at Arsenal.

Fletcher, who has salvaged his career after recovering from a chronic bowel condition, is out of contract in the summer.

Meanwhile, Hull City defender Alex Bruce is bracing himself for a difficult afternoon against United duo Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini.

Rooney's winner at Arsenal was his fourth goal in three games for club and country and after a stop-start campaign he appears to be returning to form.

Fellaini, meanwhile, has improved considerably on his dismal debut campaign at Old Trafford and has started in the Reds' last four matches, having scored his first United goal at West Brom last month.

"Wayne is always a threat isn't he?" the younger Bruce said. "He's a great player. I watched the Manchester derby and he nearly scored a great goal, only to be knocked off the ball at the end. It shows the quality he has and he's always capable of scoring."

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