Louis van Gaal has offered a glimmer of hope that Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw could feature during next month's FA Cup final. The 11-time winners face Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace at Wembley on Saturday 21 May, hoping to build upon their dramatic last-four victory over Everton and lift the world's oldest domestic football trophy for the first time since 2004.
Shaw has not made a single first-team appearance since September, when he sustained a gruesome double leg fracture following a robust challenge from Hector Moreno just 15 minutes into a 2-1 Champions League defeat away at PSV Eindhoven. The 20-year-old, who moved to Old Trafford from Southampton two summers ago in a deal that could rise to £31.5m ($46m), eventually resumed light training earlier this month and is edging closer to a return.
Addressing his injury concerns ahead of the visit of Leicester City on Sunday (1 May), Van Gaal told MUTV: "We don't have any injuries, except Shaw, who is already not injured any more but is building up, and [Bastian] Schweinsteiger."
When asked if Shaw could play a part in the cup final, he added: "He can, maybe, but it shall be difficult because he has to play first a lot of matches in the second team. We have to wait and see because you cannot say anything. It's going very well with him."
Fifth-place United are currently on a run of four straight victories in all competitions and have won each of their last six home matches, conceding just two goals in the process. Leaders Leicester City arrive at Old Trafford knowing that three points will see them secure the Premier League title before nearest challengers Tottenham Hotspur make the short journey to Chelsea on Monday evening, but Van Gaal is intent on delaying their celebrations as he continues to chase a top-four finish.
"I think we have to beat Leicester because we are still in the race for the first positions so we have to beat them," he added. "We cannot allow that they are the champions this weekend at Old Trafford. I think they shall be the champions a week later, so we don't spoil the party, just postpone it a little bit."