HULL, Sporting Alert – Centre-back Chris Smalling made his first appearance of the season for Manchester United off the bench last Friday, but manager Jose Mourinho could stick with his winning back four from the last two games.
Smalling missed the 3-1 win in the season opener against Bournemouth, but featured in the closing minutes as a substitute in the 2-0 win over Southampton at Old Trafford.
The England defender was seen as the ideal partner for summer signing Eric Bailly in the heart of the Manchester United backline, but the performances of Daley Blind so far this season could keep the 26-year-old on the bench, at least for another weekend.
Wideman Jesse Lingard, who missed the last two games, is back from injury and confirmed on his Twitter account this week that he returned to full training after his injury.
He wrote: “Good to be back training with the lads after my injury #manchesterunited #firstneverfollows.”
Lingard impressed his manager in the preseason fixtures and in the goalscoring outing in the Community Shield against Leicester City, but the England winger has since lost his place to Juan Mata with summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan also in line for a starting place.
Not a lot of changes are expected to be made by Mourinho, although it will be interesting to see who will partner Paul Pogba in central midfield.
Anthony Martial has not set the league on fire as yet and looked to be playing without interest, but Mourinho is expected to keep the Frenchman on the left side of his attack.
Meanwhile, Hull City will be led by caretaker boss Mike Phelan, who takes on his former club.
Phelan is an ex-Manchester United player who also served as a first-team coach and assistant manager under for Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Tigers have won their opening two English Premier League games, including knocking off defending champion Leicester City in the league’s opener, but they could find a very organized Red Devils too tough to handle on Saturday.
In team news for the home side, Hull City could have Harry Maguire back, after the defender recovered from an injury to put himself in contention to make his first Premier League appearance of the season.
Maguire had been sidelined with an ankle injury, but completed 90 minutes in Tuesday night’s EFL Cup win at Exeter.
The likes of Abel Hernandez, Robert Snodgrass, Tom Huddlesstone, Adama Diomande and Andy Robertson, who all missed the victory over Exeter in midweek, will return to the starting lineup.
Hull (from):Jakupovic, Robertson, Livermore, Davies, Maguire, Elmohamady, Clucas, Meyler, Huddlestone, Hernandez, Snodgrass, Diomande, Maloney, Bowen, Clackstone, Kuciak, Olley, Tymon.
Manchester United (from):De Gea, Romero, Shaw, Bailly, Smalling, Blind, Jones,Valencia, Rojo, Darmian, Fellaini, Pogba, Carrick, Herrera, Schneiderlin, Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Depay, Young, Rooney, Mata, Martial, Ibrahimovic, Rashford.