By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and Ander Herrera have given Manchester United a boost ahead of their Premier League clash against Norwich on Saturday.
Louis van Gaal revealed at his pre-match media conference on Friday afternoon that the key trio have trained all week ahead of the fixture.
The United manager stopped short of confirming they will return for the Old Trafford fixture but they are all in contention to feature.
In an interview with MUTV, Van Gaal also revealed Matteo Darmian and Jesse Lingard are both unavailable to face Norwich. Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia are all long-term absentees, while Bastian Schweinsteiger is still suspended as part of his three-match ban.
“There are more or less three players who are trained this week, for a full week, so that’s not bad,” the manager told MUTV. “The players who have trained this week are Rooney, Herrera, Smalling and Young is also coming back I think, but we have to wait and see.
“We have to decide if they can play or not because some players like Herrera have already been ‘out of the office’ for three or four weeks.”
Smalling has not featured since hobbling through the latter stages of the 3-2 Champions League defeat at Wolfsburg and Rooney has missed the last three outings with what Van Gaal described as a ‘nasty’ ankle injury sustained in the 1-1 draw at Leicester City. Herrera has also watched the last five games from the stands while recovering from a hamstring problem.
On the fitness of Ashley Young, van Gaal continued: “In the last match he had a slight problem, he was feeling something and we cannot take the risk I think. We have investigated that this week. He shall train today [Friday], so we shall have to wait and see if he is available.
“Lingard is out of the question, and Darmian is out of the question.”
Van Gaal also discussed the recent progress of Nick Powell, who has returned to the first-team fold following a lengthy injury lay-off to make several cameo appearances.
“He was also injured for a long time so he’s now recovering and coming in the match rhythm, but now because of the many injuries he cuts his chances and you never know [if he will play against Norwich].”