Manchester: Radamel Falcao and Marcos Rojo could both return from injury for Manchester United's home game against Hull City on Saturday, manager Louis van Gaal revealed on Friday.
Argentina defender Rojo has been absent since dislocating a shoulder in United's derby loss to Manchester City earlier this month, while on-loan Monaco striker Falcao has missed the last four games with a calf injury. But both are now back in full training and Van Gaal says that they could make the squad for the visit of Steve Bruce's side.
"I live day by day at this moment, but maybe Falcao will come back into the 18 and maybe Rojo will come back into the 18," Van Gaal said. Centre-back Jonny Evans could also return to United's squad after being absent since September with a foot injury.
But United's injury concerns have not fully cleared up, with Van Gaal confirming that left-back Luke Shaw will be out "for the next few weeks" after damaging ankle ligaments during last Saturday's 2-1 win at Arsenal. Meanwhile, Daley Blind has been given time off to start his recovery from the knee injury he sustained during the last international break, which is set to keep the midfielder out until well into the new year.
"I gave him a holiday because in the first week it is more rest than exercise," said Van Gaal, who led a Holland team featuring Blind to a third-place finish at the World Cup in Brazil. "He didn't have so much holiday because of the World Cup. You may remember the Netherlands were there until the end. "I gave him a holiday and he will come back on Monday. Then he has to exercise and practise every day because an injured player has to train more than a fit player."
Bruce 'very firm'
United have recovered from their worst start to a season in 28 years to move up to fourth place in the Premier League. But Van Gaal warned that his side's campaign will only be considered a success if they have secured Champions League football by the end of it.
"I don't want to mention that (injuries) as a manager, because I want to speak about the fit players," Van Gaal told a press conference at United's Carrington training base in Manchester. "But you are right when you see how our preparation was, how many injuries and how heavy the second part of our matches were. It was a very big test. But after playing heavy opponents we are still fourth, so I am happy.
"But we have to be at least fourth at the end of the league and not now. Now is not so important. We have to improve our playing style and beat our opponents more easily."
United will be looking to maintain their momentum at the start of a run of eight league games in little over a month. To do so, they must overcome one of the most experienced managers in the country in Hull coach Steve Bruce -- a former United defender -- who is about to clock up his 700th top-flight game in the dug-out.
"It says that he is a very good manager. I think, but I don't know. I don't think I will reach that amount," Van Gaal said. "I have seen him playing for Manchester United. He was very firm (as a player), I think, and also a leader. And mostly players who are leaders become managers."