Smalling To Return Against West Brom, Bailly Ruled Out

Reuters / John Sibley

Manchester United have been handed a boost with the news that Chris Smalling is all set to return to action this weekend, and Eric Bailly’s injury is also not as serious as feared initially.

Chris Smalling, who has been on the sidelines since United’s 4-0 defeat to Chelsea back in October, will be in contention when Manchester United travel to West Brom this weekend.

Mourinho’s recent defensive problems received yet another blow in midweek when Eric Bailly had to come off after picking up an injury against Crystal Palace.

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There were initial fears that Bailly could face another spell on the sidelines after just returning from a knee injury picked up earlier in the season.

However, Jose Mourinho has now confirmed that he expects the Ivorian to be available over the festive period.

Mourinho told MUTV: “Bailly can’t play tomorrow but his injury isn’t as serious as we thought. Smalling is coming back for this game.”

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The loss of Bailly for a second successive time this season is certainly a blow to Mourinho’s plans, although in his place, both Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have performed relatively good, with their clean sheet against Tottenham last weekend being an impressive highlight.

Jones played with Rojo at centre-back on Wednesday, with Bailly shifted to right-back as Antonio Valencia was suspended for the Palace match. But now that the injury has ruled Bailly out yet again, Jones is likely to retain his central role, with Valencia returning to the flank.

Manchester United will face West Brom at the Hawthorns in the late kick-off on Saturday.


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