• Swedish striker has not played since Boxing Day after suffering another knee injury.
  • Ibrahimovic resumed first-team activities on Wednesday [7 February] but is not ready to feature this weekend.
  • Daley Blind also remains sidelined along with Eric Bailly and Marouane Fellaini.

Manchester United will remain without four senior first-team players for Sunday's (11 February) Premier League trip to Newcastle United, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic has resumed training as he closes in on his latest comeback from injury.

Veteran striker Ibrahimovic, who signed a new one-year contract last summer after initially being released, has been limited to just seven appearances across all competitions since returning from a seven-month absence in a 4-1 win over the Magpies in November, with another right-knee problem keeping him sidelined since the Boxing Day draw with Burnley.

That latest setback was expected to see the former Sweden captain miss another four weeks of action, with Mourinho revealing at a press conference last month that the intended date for his return to training was "around the end of January or beginning of February".

And while Ibrahimovic, continually linked with a potential summer move to Major League Soccer's (MLS) Los Angeles Galaxy, joined in sessions with his teammates at Carrington on Wednesday [7 February], the trip to St James' Park will come too soon in his recovery.

Fellow long-term absentee Eric Bailly, meanwhile, is still yet to recommence training activities after undergoing ankle surgery in December.

"Zlatan started training again this week with the team but he is not yet [ready to return]. Eric [is] not yet with the team," Mourinho told reporters at a pre-Newcastle press conference on Friday, as relayed by United's official website.

Mourinho told the press last weekend that he was hopeful that Marouane Fellaini would be back in contention by the end of March after he received a minor operation on his external meniscus.

Second-place United have no fresh injury worries to contend with before that visit to Tyneside, though the versatile Daley Blind is still nursing an ankle issue. Phil Jones will be expected to return to the matchday squad after illness caused him to be omitted from the 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town.

"The squad is good, everything is fine," Mourinho added. "Bailly and Daley Blind are the two players that are out [in addition to Fellaini]. Zlatan started training with the team two days ago, so two days with the group and he is improving. We are fine."

Mourinho has never won an away match at Newcastle across his three spells in English football, drawing three and losing three of his six visits.

He hopes to end that hoodoo this time out against old rival Rafael Benitez, whom he evidently believes is more than capable of preventing last season's Championship winners from making an instant return to the second tier after a busy end to the January transfer window in which they loaned a trio of new players in Chelsea winger Kenedy, Leicester City striker Islam Slimani and Sparta Prague goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

"If you ask me if I think Newcastle are going to be in the Championship next season, I say immediately 'no way'," he said. "They are a good team, they had a very good transfer window with Kenedy and Slimani [arriving]. They are two players I know very well and they really can improve their team."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been struggling with another knee injury of late Alex Livesey/Getty Images