Ahead of the game against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, United manager Jose Mourinho has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference this afternoon.
The Portuguese tactician confirmed a huge injury boost with the news that Chris Smalling is set to return to the squad after finally recovering from a troublesome broken toe which has held him off in recent weeks.
Since United’s 4-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge back in October, Smalling has been on the sidelines. However, the defender is now back and is expected to feature in the West Brom game. His return comes at the prefect time since Eric Bailly won’t be with the squad on the trip to West Brom.
Bailly was forced off shortly after half-time against Crystal Palace in midweek, and was replaced by Matteo Darmian. Amidst fears of a possible serious injury, the Ivorian took to Instagram last night to ease fears over the seriousness of the issue and Mourinho has now confirmed that while Bailly won’t be available tomorrow, they hope he’ll be back for the busy festive period.
Mourinho told the club’s website:
“He [Bailly] can’t be in this game but it doesn’t look as serious as we first thought. Normally we hope to have him back for Christmas period. Smalling is coming back for this game.”
It will come as a huge relief that Bailly’s injury isn’t serious as he’s become a key part of United’s first team since moving to the club in the summer and Mourinho will hope to have him back for the visit of Sunderland to Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
Nevertheless, Bailly would eventually leave to represent his country at the African Cup of Nations come January. Therefore, Smalling’s return is a real boost to the team.