Nottingham Forest will endeavour to pull off an improbable comeback when they travel to meet Manchester United in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday night.
The Red Devils have one foot in the final courtesy of a dominant 3-0 success at the City Ground last week, and either Southampton or Newcastle United will await Erik ten Hag’s men at Wembley, assuming they can avoid a calamitous collapse here.
Man United did not come through their win over Reading unscathed, as key midfielder Christian Eriksen left the stadium on crutches after suffering an ankle injury, and the Danish lynchpin has now been ruled out for at least three months.
Eriksen joins Donny van de Beek, Axel Tuanzebe, Scott McTominay and Diogo Dalot on the sidelines, and Luke Shaw will also need assessing due to illness, but Ten Hag has confirmed that Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho could both return to the squad here.
Amid a potential last-minute transfer swoop for an Eriksen stand-in, Fred can expect to fill the hole in the engine room for the time being, and Ten Hag may also consider handing starts to the likes of Anthony Elanga and Alejandro Garnacho given his side’s comfortable three-goal cushion.
In eerily similar fashion to Eriksen, Nottingham Forest attacker Morgan Gibbs-White also left the field with an ankle problem in the first-leg loss to Man United, and the former Wolverhampton Wanderers man has been ruled out of this one.
A well-occupied Forest treatment room also holds Moussa Niakhate, Giulian Biancone, Taiwo Awoniyi, Cheikhou Kouyate, Omar Richards and Dean Henderson, the latter of whom would not be able to face his parent club anyway.
A spot has opened up for ex-Man United attacker Jesse Lingard or Emmanuel Dennis to start for the visitors with Gibbs-White absent, while Ryan Yates’s status is still unclear after he missed the first leg due to illness – the same goes for Jack Colback.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Martinez, Varane, Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Elanga, Fernandes, Garnacho; Weghorst
Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Hennessey; Aurier, Worrall, Boly, Lodi; Mangala, Danilo, Freuler; Scarpa; Johnson, Dennis
We say: Manchester United 2-0 Nottingham Forest