Eric Bailly faces a race against time to prove his fitness for Manchester United’s FA Cup clash with West Ham at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed the injury worry as the centre-back, 26, has not played since the 2-1 win at Fulham last month and has missed four out of the last five games.
The Norwegian said: “With Paul and Eric, I’m not sure if they’re going to be fit. I think Eric is closer than Paul.”
It has subsequently been revealed that the French midfielder faces “a few weeks” on the sidelines after suffering an injury during the Red Devils’ thrilling 3-3 draw with Everton on Saturday.
With an FA Cup quarter-final at stake, this game may come too soon for the £80k-a-week earning Bailly, and there is no doubt that this will be a significant blow for Solskjaer if it does indeed prove to be the case.
The defender has overcome a difficult start to the season at Old Trafford to become a key part of Solskjaer’s side. Indeed, Bailly has played eleven times across all competitions this season, helping his side keep six clean sheets in the process.
Solskjaer will be immensely gutted to lose the 26-year-old again after the Red Devils conceded a late goal against Carlo Ancelotti’s side on Saturday to draw 3-3 with the Toffees, which saw them lose more ground on leaders Manchester City.
The club legend will have every right to feel aggrieved if he loses the Ivorian for even more time in the midst of a busy schedule, as his side face Premier League strugglers Watford before upcoming top-flight fixtures with Newcastle and Chelsea later this month.
And given his comments on fellow centre-back Harry Maguire in the lead-up to the game – the United boss admitted he thinks about giving the England international a rest – it poses a major headache.
With Bailly potentially out, does Solskjaer also give Maguire a rest knowing just how important of a game this is? If the Ivorian makes it or is even somewhat fit, then the Norwegian would surely feel more comfortable in giving his main centre-back a breather.
It’s a situation that leaves Solskjaer with a real dilemma.
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