Manchester United travel to Shrewsbury Town on Monday night for an FA Cup fifth-round game marking the start of a week that looks potentially vital for their season – as well as for the increasing under-scrutiny Louis van Gaal’s future.
Van Gaal’s men trip to Greenhous Meadow comes after the Old Trafford outfit has had a por run of form after back-to-back defeat to Danish champions FC Midtjylland and Sunderland.
With several reports claiming that another defeat on Monday night could prove the final straw for the Dutchman, United will be desperately looking for a win to help ease the pressure at the club.
Speaking ahead on Monday’s contest after being asked if teams still fear United, Van Gaal said: “When you see the last two games it is maybe like that. But then we have to make them fear again. It is a question of winning matches in a row.”
United No.1 goalkeeper is not expected to make an appearance today after picking up a knee injury before the Europa League loss to FC Midtjylland. Wayne Rooney is also not expected to feature after suffering a knee injury and is expected to return after 6 weeks.
Sam Johnstone, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Guillermo Varela, Ashley Young, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marouane Fellaini, and Adnan Januzaj are also recovering from injuries and will not feature.
Up until now, Shrewsbury manager Micky Mellon has confirmed defender Jack Grimmer will be fit for Monday’s game. Shrewsbury’s former-United midfielder Larnell Cole makes a return to the squad after missing three games with a groin injury.
Speaking ahead of their first competitive meeting with United, Mellon said: “We will give it our best go and we won’t be overawed.
“We will make sure that we thoroughly enjoy the game and take it all in and give the best account of ourselves that we possibly can to represent this great football town. We’ve got to do certain things in a certain way to increase our chances of getting a result, so that’s what we’re working on and the mentality we’re approaching the game with.”
The Shrews go into the match having kept five clean sheets in their last seven FA Cup games. United, who have only won five of their last 18 matches in all competitions, are determined to proceed to the next stage of their FA Cup campaign.
Manchester United: Romero; McNair, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson; Schneiderlin, Carrick; Depay, Mata, Herrera; Martial.
Shrewsbury Town: Leutwiler; Whitbread, Knight-Percival, Grimmer, Brown; Whalley, Ogogo, Cole, Black; Mangan, Akpa-Akpro.