Newcastle United handed major pre-match boost with Manchester United star set to miss clash

Newcastle United could face a Manchester United side without Marcus Rashford on Wednesday evening.

Monday, 31st December 2018, 3:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 2:34 am
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjr is set to be without five players for Wednesday's clash with Newcastle United

Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men visit St James’s Park having won their last three matches 5-1, 3-1 and 4-1 since the Norwegian took over from Jose Mourinho on an interim basis until the end of the season.

However, the Magpies, who are aiming to make it back-to-back home wins over the Red Devils for the first time since 1987, are set for a potential pre-match boost, as Rashford is named as one of five Man United stars that is a doubt for the trip to Tyneside.

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The England international is struggling with a groin injury picked up Sunday’s 4-1 win over Bournemouth at Old Trafford.

Solskjær is also facing problems in his defence too. Eric Baily’s red card against the Cherries saw him join Marcus Rojo and Chris Smalling in the growing list of defenders who are unavailable.

Scott McTominay, who featured against the Magpies on both occasions in 2018, is ruled out for the visitors.

Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez is likely to return to Man United’s match day 18 after missing the club’s last nine fixtures in all competitions.

For Newcastle, Fabian Schar is expected to slot back into Rafa Benitez’s defence after Federico Fernandez limped out the 1-1 draw with Watford following a hip injury.

Ciaran Clark is battling an ankle injury which has ruled him out of the Magpies’ previous three games, while the game will come too soon for Florian Lejuene, who is expected to make his return against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup this weekend.

Jonjo Shelvey is in line for his first start since November 2 with Ki Sung-yueng’s involvement in the Asian Cup leaving Benitez short with Mohammed Diame and Isaac Hayden the only other recognised central midfielders.

There is an argument to say youngster Sean Longstaff should be given an opportunity, however he was removed from the match day 18 at Vicarage Road, days after making his Premier League debut at Liverpool.