Manchester United face Sevilla in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan and Eric Bailly is reportedly facing a race against time to be fit to face Vincenzo Montella's side on 21 February.

The Ivory Coast international last featured for the Red Devils in their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on 5 November. He has been sidelined with an ankle injury and Jose Mourinho confirmed in December the centre-back has undergone a surgery, which will rule him out for "two to three months".

According to ESPN, the Portuguese tactician is keen on having Bailly in the squad to face the La Liga outfit in the knockout tie of the European competition. The report claims a trip to Spain may come a week too soon for the former Villarreal man, despite returning to training in January.

Bailly is currently working on regaining full fitness at United's training base in Carrington. The African defender is making a steady progress in training as he is looking to make a comeback after spending months on the sidelines.

With his last appearance coming in the first week of November, Bailly will still lack match sharpness even if he recovers in time to face for Sevilla. ESPN reports the central defender still needs more time before returning to the side.

If Bailly fails to recover in time to face Sevilla, he will be in contention to face Chelsea on 25 February. He has made 10 appearances in all competitions this season and United have lost only one of those fixtures played and conceded only four goals in the process.

United suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle United in the last tie and in his pre-match press conference, Mourinho revealed Bailly is still not with the team.

Phil Jones and Chris Smalling started in the heart of the defence at St James' Park. Newcastle's only goal of the match came from a free-kick, which they were awarded after Smalling dived inside his own half.

The former Fulham defender and Jones have failed to impress in United's last two away fixtures, against Tottenham Hotspur and the Tyneside club. Should Bailly fail to make himself available, Mourinho will be left with the England international duo, Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof as the first choice centre-backs in the squad.

Eric Bailly
Eric Bailly last featured for Manchester United in their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in November Reuters