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Manchester United to play Odion Ighalo against Chelsea despite lack of squad training

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Odion Ighalo. Photo: Adam Davy/PA

Odion Ighalo. Photo: Adam Davy/PA

Odion Ighalo. Photo: Adam Davy/PA

Odion Ighalo could make his Manchester United debut against Chelsea next week, despite being blocked from joining the club's winter training camp in Marbella.

The Nigeria striker had to remain in Manchester and work on a training programme after United decided not to take their new loan signing to Spain this week.

With the threat of border controls being tightened on those who have been in China following the coronavirus outbreak, there were fears Ighalo may not have been allowed back in the UK if he had travelled. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has indicated that he plans to include Ighalo - a deadline-day loan signing from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua - in his squad to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday. "He is going to travel with us," said the United manager. "We will just see his fitness this week and we will get him sharp. We want to integrate him as quickly as we can."

United trail fourth-placed Chelsea by six points, and Monday's game could be pivotal for their prospects of Champions League qualification.

Bruno Fernandes will also be involved. "He is a very good footballer and his brain is quicker than many others," added Solskjaer.

The game will come too soon for Scott McTominay, but he may be in the squad to face Club Brugge a week tomorrow after almost seven weeks out with a knee injury.

Irish Independent