| 1.4°C Dublin

Herrera and Januzaj back in contention for United


Ander Herrera of Manchester United

Ander Herrera of Manchester United

Ander Herrera of Manchester United

Manchester United midfielders Ander Herrera and Adnan Januzaj have returned to training ahead of the Premier League trip to Stoke City, manager Louis van Gaal said.

United have climbed to third in the table after winning seven of their last nine games going into the match against Stoke on Thursday.

"Herrera has trained today for the first time with us and Januzaj has also trained two training sessions with us," Van Gaal told a news conference.

"They don't have match rhythm. Januzaj was ill and you have to recover from your illness, not from your tiredness. Maybe it's worse to recover from illness."

Defenders Rafael, Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw have returned to the squad after recovering from injuries but Daley Blind, Marouane Fellaini and Marcos Rojo are still sidelined.

"It's a problem for me to come through this two weeks around Christmas and New Year, all these matches," Van Gaal said. "That is difficult now."

The Dutchman sent out an unchanged team for the 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, the first time United have named the same starting line-up in 85 league matches going back to November, 2012.

That was surprising since they had played Newcastle United less than 48 hours earlier and Van Gaal has been a fierce critic of English soccer's heavy Christmas fixture schedule.