The Football League loan window provides clubs outside of the Premier League with one last chance to bolster their squad with the notoriously frenetic festive period looming. Clubs have been free to do business and bring players in on loan since 9 September but that window closes on 25 November.
With just three Under-21 league games scheduled from now until the end of 2015, Louis van Gaal has the opportunity to find short-term moves for those United youngsters who will not come into the Dutchman's reckoning in the coming months. IBTimes UK considers who could leave the club before Wednesday's loan window closes.
Powell's United career began with a bang with that stunning debut goal against Wigan Athletic in 2012 but has since become the club's forgotten man. After an impressive spell with the Latics in the Championship during the 2013-14 season, the midfielder failed to take the next step after joining Premier League side Leicester City on loan last season, where he featured more often for the Foxes Under-21s than the first team.
That loan was cancelled in January and since then, the 21-year-old has been beset by hamstring problems that have kept him out of action for nine months.
Powell played 55 minutes in his return match against Norwich in an Under-21 Premier League match on 23 November and curiously is eligible for the club's Champions League campaign after being registered at the start of the season. But given his lengthy lay-off, a step up to the first-team seems unlikely. Keeping a player who desperately needs minutes around for three Under-21 games seems counterproductive and according Under-21 boss Warren Joyce, the former Crewe Alexandra starlet is "too good for reserves football".
Joyce also praised Powell's determination in that interview in early November, seemingly dismissing questions over the player's attitude and ambition in the process. A stellar loan move could be the next step in re-establishing his credentials.
The 22-year-old had an excellent loan spell at Preston North End during the second half of the 2014-15 season, helping the club win promotion to the Championship via the play-offs. He was rewarded with first-team opportunities during United's pre-season tour of the United States and the furore surrounding the futures of David de Gea and Victor Valdes appeared to bolster his chances of remaining in van Gaal's plans.
Rather than United reducing their goalkeeping numbers, though, they added to them in the form of Sergio Romero, who was selected ahead of Johnstone during De Gea's exile from the first-team in the closing weeks of the transfer window.
That development prompted a furious response from Johnstone's agent and management company, who accused Van Gaal of holding back young English talent. Since then, Johnstone has firmly remained third choice at Old Trafford, featuring for the Under-21s including in the 2-0 defeat to Norwich City on 23 November. Given Valdes's exile from the team, Van Gaal may not be comfortable in sending his third-choice goalkeeping option away on loan but Johnstone is likely to be desperate for first-team football again.