Manchester United will be without their injured quartet of Adnan Januzaj, Luke Shaw, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Will Keane for their clash against Aston Villa on Saturday (16 April). The Red Devils, however, will have the services of Wayne Rooney, who made his return from injury as a second-half substitute during their FA Cup replay win over West Ham United on Wednesday (13 April), while Phil Jones also will be pushing for a first-team recall after completing 90 minutes for the U21's on Monday.
The 20-time English champions are in the race for a place in the top four and are currently in fifth place, four points behind neighbours Manchester City. The return of Rooney to the first-team will be a major boost for Van Gaal, who will expect his team to take all three points and condemn the Villans to the Championship, while maintaining the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini's team as they welcome Chelsea to the Etihad Stadium.
Marcus Rashford has been impressive for the Old Trafford club during their skipper's absence and despite his goal scoring heroics in recent months, he is likely to make way for the England international, who will be keen to prove his fitness to the Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson before the end of the season.
Jones, on the other hand, is returning to action after almost three months after what has been an injury blighted campaign, which has restricted him to just 13 appearances in all competitions thus far this season. The former Blackburn Rovers defender is unlikely to break into the starting XI anytime soon owing to the brilliant partnership forged by Daley Blind and Chris Smalling at centre-back, but could provide backup in a multitude of positions in case of an injury.
Among the injured quartet, Januzaj and Shaw are expected to return before the end of the season, with the latter already back in training following a double leg fracture that has kept him out of action since September. But Schweinsteiger and Keane are expected to be out for the season, with the German midfielder facing a race against time to be fit to lead his national team at the European Championship finals in France in June.
"Wayne Rooney made his first-team return as an injury-time substitute in Wednesday's game at Upton Park, while Phil Jones is pushing for inclusion after playing 90 minutes for the Under-21s on Monday night. Januzaj, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luke Shaw and Will Keane are still sidelined," a statement on United's official site read.