Manchester United host Stoke City at Old Trafford in the Premier League tonight knowing three points could move them further clear of the chasing pack in the race for European football this season.
The Red Devils currently occupy fifth spot; despite winning just two of their last 10 league outings, although they had gone four games unbeaten before their last match in the top-flight.
Southampton left Old Trafford with a 1-0 victory on January 23, courtesy of a late winner from substitute and debutant Charlie Austin.
Louis van Gaal’s men took a break from league action at the weekend to progress into the FA Cup fifth-round after beating Championship promotion chasers Derby County 3-1 at Pride Park on Friday night.
Meanwhile the Potters’ last two outings have been in cup competitions – Firstly Liverpool knocked them out of the League Cup semi-finals on penalties last week, before a much-changed side lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Mark Hughes’ outfit also left their last league match empty handed, losing heavily to table-topping Leicester City (3-0).
The Midlands outfit lie ninth in the Premier League; four points adrift of tonight’s opponents, however they were 2-0 victors when the two last met on Boxing Day.
United will be without winger Ashley Young (Groin) again; whilst the game will come too soon for defenders Matteo Darmian (Chest) and Phil Jones (Ankle), although the duo are nearing returns.
Meanwhile Stoke are sweating on the fitness of forward Marko Arnautovic (Back). The Austrian was man of the match when the two met at the Britannia Stadium, but he is currently 50-50 to feature.
However ex-Red Devils defender Ryan Shawcross (Back) will certainly miss tonight’s encounter against his former club, as will Geoff Cameron (Ankle).
League Positions: Manchester United – 5th (37 pts); Stoke City – 9th (33 pts)
Previous Meeting: Stoke City 2-0 Manchester United – December 26, 2015
League Form: Manchester United – LDWDWL; Stoke City – WWLWDL
Key Players: Manchester United – Wayne Rooney; Stoke City – Bojan
Shoot Says: Manchester United 1-1 Stoke City