By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

David de Gea and Michael Carrick could return for Manchester United’s Europa League clash against Midtjylland on Thursday.

De Gea has missed the last two matches with a knee injury, while Carrick was an unused substitute as United beat Shrewsbury 3-0 in the FA Cup on Monday night.

Louis van Gaal admitted that the Spanish goalkeeper is close to a comeback but the coaching staff would have to “wait and see” if he could make the second leg of the last-32 Europa League clash on Thursday.

Danish minnows Midtjylland have a 2-1 advantage from the first leg last Thursday, when Sergio Romero was called up at the last minute and performed impressively in goal.

Van Gaal was unable to call upon a staggering 12 players Monday’s match and then saw Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Will Keane pick up new injuries during the match, which he blamed on the club’s gruelling fixture list.

With so few players to call upon, the manager Van Gaal will be forced to stick with the bulk of the team which beat Shrewsbury.

Carrick is expected to return in central midfield, which might mean Ander Herrera pushed forward into the playmaker role and the ineffective Memphis Depay demoted to the bench.

Manchester United (possible) De Gea; Varela, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson; Carrick, Schneiderlin; Mata, Herrera, Lingard; Martial.