Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has said that Phil Jones, Marouane Fellaini and Antonio Valencia could all be back for the Reds in the next couple of weeks.

However, the Dutchman has hinted that the trio will get run outs for Warren Joyce’s under-21 side before being integrated back into the first-team fold. Their next match is a behind-closed-doors match against Oldham Athletic in the Manchester Senior Cup.

Jones and Valencia will bring much-needed defensive reinforcements for this United side, who have had to field a number of youngsters at the back in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Fellaini will bring a physical presence in midfield and an alternative option in attack if needed.

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Speaking to MUTV, van Gaal said:

Players are coming back but then, normally, they cannot play a match because the rhythm of the game is much higher. So, we have to train more and let them play in the second team. Maybe because I’m forced because of the circumstances to take a risk, like I have done with Marcos Rojo but, when I’m not forced to, then I shall not do that.

A lot [of players] can do that [make Sunday’s squad] but it’s also what I have already told – I don’t want to take a risk. Valencia is coming back, Fellaini is coming back, Jones is coming back. A lot of players are coming back, and I have said that in former press conferences.

The United manager also provided updates on Ashley Young, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Will Keane, who are all on the sidelines at the moment:

Will had a fantastic operation, like Ashley Young. It was more or less the same operation. He is coming back on Tuesday and I’m hoping he comes back as quickly as Ashley because he’s also coming back in March. Schweinsteiger may train with the first team next week.