Robin van Persie is set to return for Manchester United as they look to bounce back in Sunday's Premier League trip to Sunderland.
The availability of Netherlands star Van Persie, given an extended break after the World Cup, will boost manager Louis van Gaal, who will hope to prove last week's 2-1 home defeat to Swansea City was an aberration.
A promising pre-season tour and the arrivals of Van Gaal, midfielder Ander Herrera and defender Luke Shaw lifted the gloom around Old Trafford after a disastrous seventh-placed finish last term.
But last Saturday's result proved that change is a gradual process, and that the ex-Netherlands coach has much work to do on his side if they are to claim a top-four finish.
But while Herrera, Marouane Fellaini (both ankle) and Jesse Lingard (leg) have been added to United's lengthy injury list, the inclusion of Van Persie - scorer of 38 goals in 59 Premier League appearances for the club - is a lift.
"Robin is ready to play, so that is a big benefit for our team," Van Gaal said on Friday.
"I'm very happy that he is now able to play.
"Last week, we had nine injuries and now we have seven. It's much too much. I have had this as a manager for the first time. We have to live with this.
"We have four injured midfielders - [Michael] Carrick, from the beginning, but now also Herrera, Fellaini and Lingard, we are thin on midfielders now.
Van Gaal also pleaded with the club's supporters to give him time to reverse their fortunes, adding: "Two weeks ago I was the king of Manchester. Now I am the devil of Manchester.
"I was not hired to be fired, but to build up a team and that is a process that needs time."
Danny Welbeck, Antonio Valencia and Jonny Evans could also make returns - although Van Gaal's latest signing, Marcos Rojo, is ineligible - for a United side that has already lost to Sunderland twice in 2014.
First came a League Cup semi-final, which Sunderland won on penalties, before Ryan Giggs' second game as United's interim manager - as replacement for David Moyes - finished in a 1-0 home defeat.
That result was one of many surprise wins gained by Sunderland in the latter stages of last term as they avoided relegation against the odds.
Sunderland started this season with a 2-2 draw at West Brom last week, with Sebastian Larsson - scorer of the only goal at Old Trafford in May - netting an 85th-minute equaliser for Gus Poyet's side.
Despite a good recent record against United, it is 17 years since Sunderland, who will miss Emanuele Giaccherini (groin), beat them at home in a Premier League match.
|3||P. van Aanholt|
|Coach: G. Poyet|
for J. Rodwell 63'
for S. Fletcher 77'
for W. Buckley 79'
|Depay elated at title success|
|Bale and Modric injuries sour Real win|
|Eredivisie Review: PSV seal title, Dordrecht on the brink of relegation|
|CAF Champions League Review: Kone battle back to hold TP Mazembe as El Merreikh stun ES Tunis|
|Juventus 2 Lazio 0: Tevez inspires win over in-form visitors|
|Ligue 1 Review: Monaco held by late Habibou strike, PSG back on top|
|Bundesliga Review: Bayern win to close in on title, no Klopp distraction for Dortmund|
|Real Madrid 3 Malaga 1: Ramos, Rodriguez and Ronaldo do the business for Real|
|Primeira Liga Review: Jonas double maintains Benfica lead, Porto remain three points back|
|PSV secure Eredivisie title|
|Simeone lauds first-half display|
|Reading motivation ´on a different planet´ - Wenger|
|Mourinho: Title almost secured after United win|
|Sampdoria 0 Cesena 0 : Strugglers frustrate Mihajlovic´s men|
|Fatigue taking its toll – Blanc|
|Van Gaal not convinced by Herrera decision|
|League Two Review: Burton seal promotion, relegation battle down to three|
|Reading 1 Arsenal 2 (aet): Federici left red-faced as holders avoid upset|
|Klopp braced for ´brutally emotional´ farewell|
|Burnley still have belief to beat drop - Dyche|
|Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0: Hazard puts leaders 10 points clear|
|Guardiola focusing on Champions League|
|Bale limps off for Real Madrid with apparent calf injury|
|Championship Review: Wigan keep survival hopes alive, Watford go top|
|Barcelona players ´empty´ after Valencia win, says Luis Enrique|
|Pulis thanks ´first-class´ Palace fans|
|Barkley will become ´an Everton great´ - Martinez|
|Deportivo La Coruna 1 Atletico Madrid 2: Griezmann brace does the damage|
|Monk: Swansea deserved defeat|
|Hughes proud of Stoke comeback|
|Pardew: Defeat will not change Palace approach|
|Penalty hero Bravo plays down role in Barca win|
|Aberdeen 1 Dundee United 0: Prolific Rooney seals European spot|
|League One Review: Bristol City clinch title, MK Dons batter Orient|
|Pearson: Still work to do for Leicester|
|Mirallas happy at Everton|
|Koeman remaining positive after Stoke defeat|
|Magnificent Messi brings up 400 Barca goals|
|Nice 1 Paris Saint-Germain 3: Pastore double sends champions back to top|
|Leicester City 2 Swansea City 0: Hosts´ survival hopes boosted with third win in a row|
|Stoke City 2 Southampton 1: Adam strike snatches victory|
|Barcelona 2 Valencia 0: Suarez and Messi on target as leaders battle to win|
|Everton 1 Burnley 0: Mirallas sends visitors bottom|
|Crystal Palace 0 West Brom 2: Pulis makes winning return to Selhurst Park|
|Hoffenheim 0 Bayern Munich 2: Champions end difficult week with hard-earned win|
|Borussia Dortmund 3 Paderborn 0: Hosts respond to Klopp news with fine display|
|Inter have more to lose than Milan - Mancini|
|A-League Review: Victory on the cusp of premiership|
|Newcastle job hardest in football - Carver|
|Diego Lopez a doubt for Milan derby|
|Tevez agent hits out at Boca|
|Mourinho hails ´consistent´ Hazard|
|Arteta: New contract will take five minutes|
|Lopetegui dismisses Real link|
|Ancelotti has no plans to sign new goalkeeper|
|Blanc backs Cavani to respond|
|New York Red Bulls 2 San Jose Earthquakes 0: Hosts stay unbeaten|
|Marseille cannot win title - Bielsa|
|Mourinho feels for Pellegrini|
|Vitoria Guimaraes 1 Sporting Braga 0: Valente header sinks visitors|
|Levante 2 Espanyol 2: Late Victor strike earns struggling hosts a point|
|Football League Review: Middlesbrough edge Norwich in promotion duel, Preston drop points again|
|Nantes 1 Marseille 0: Defensive gaffe leaves visitors´ title challenge in tatters|
|Cambuur 1 Excelsior 1: Record-breaker Ogbeche secures last-gasp draw|
|Eintracht Frankfurt 0 Borussia Monchengladbach 0: Favre´s men held in entertaining draw|
|Arabian Gulf League Review: Al Ain clinch title, Al Jazira humbled by local rivals Bani Yas|
|PSG welcome reduction to Ibrahimovic ban|
|Fournier anticipates improved derby showing from Lyon|
|Anti-Ashley fan protest could inspire Newcastle - Pochettino|
|Toure to stay at City - Pellegrini|
|Newcastle United v Tottenham: Carver pins hopes on Coloccini amid fan boycott plans|
|Manchester City v West Ham: Pellegrini calls for unity|
|Newport terminate Zebroski contract after conviction|
|El Ouriachi nears Stoke switch|
|Inter v Milan: Shaqiri upbeat ahead of first derby|
|Aston Villa v Liverpool: All eyes on Gerrard ahead of Wembley return|
|Sturridge to be given ´every possibility´ to get fit|
|Agbonlahor could make semi-final|
|Simeone: Forget about the Champions League|
|PSG captain Silva to miss Nice game|
|Pellegrini ´not hurt´ by Klopp speculation|
|Mourinho plays down United injury worries|
|A-League Review: Sydney, Phoenix keep hopes up in thrillers|
|Pellegrini fears Kompany´s season may be over|
|Costa in contention for Arsenal clash|
|Title possible but not logical for Van Gaal|
|Iniesta ruled out of Valencia visit|
|Van Gaal searching for answer to United injury ´puzzle´|
|Allardyce backs Koeman for managerial gong|
|Benzema to miss Malaga clash|
|Juventus v Lazio ´a Scudetto game´ - Allegri|
|Guardiola insists he is going nowhere|
|Bolasie worth £20million - Pardew|
|Newcastle fans to feed ducks during Spurs protest|
|Bayern confirm Muller-Wohlfahrt resignation|
|Balotelli most-targeted player for hate crimes on social media|
|Ancelotti: No calls from Manchester City|
|Pardew revels in ´a tremendous season´|
|Watzke hopes for swift Dortmund appointment|
|Atleti a different beast under Simeone, says Forlan|
|Di Maria suspension behind United resurgence, claims Scholes|
|Mertesacker hopes Klopp takes foreign challenge|
|Dyche demands diving answers|
|Skrtel ready for Benteke test|
|Mertesacker: Arsenal should manage Wembley pressure|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Wanderers advance, Palestino miss out|
|New York City 1 Philadelphia Union 1: Another late show frustrates hosts|
|Webb re-elected as CONCACAF president|
|Emery wary of Russia trip|
|Terry ´no chance´ of England return - Capello|
|Fatigue hurt us - Villas-Boas|
|Benitez praises ´spectacular´ Napoli|
|Brugge captain Simons accepts goalless draw|